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Hoops star helps hometown students

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Janas Tilery, 4, picks out a new bookbag Thursday during the Back To School Supply Give-Away at the South Rocky Mount Community Center.

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BY COREY DAVIS
Staff Writer

Friday, August 17, 2018

The sweltering August heat on Thursday did little to keep hundreds of children and adults from the South Rocky Mount community and nearby areas from coming out in waves for a block party style event.

Children and teens were outside either playing games, basketball or in the bounce houses, while adults relaxed as music blasted through the air and the crowd also received free grilled food.

The Back to School Supply Give-Away community event was the brainchild of local pro basketball player Moe Deloach and others through a partnership with the Opportunities Industrialization Center, city of Rocky Mount and ItsDoable Inc., a local nonprofit group founded by Tynesha Lewis, a former WNBA player and SouthWest Edgecombe basketball star.

The highlight of the event was 1,000 free bookbags given away to children in the community.

Tiara Moore said she was pleased that her 6-year-old daughter Jo’nyah Moore was able to be a recipient of a free bookbag. She was excited to see people in the South Rocky Mount area come together and have a good time.

“It’s a great thing for the kids such as my daughter to be able to get a free book bag for school,” Moore said. “It’s great for parents like myself to not have to rush out and buy one. Overall, I think all this activity out here is a great experience for this community.”

Tardra Hilliard, a branch sales and service associate for PNC Bank on West Raleigh Boulevard, had a table set up in the corner of the community center where she talked to parents about the importance of starting a savings account for their child at an early age. Hilliard remembered attending summer camps as a child at the former community center.

She said she loved being in the revamped community center that was completed in 2016. Also being constructed in the area are the Ravenwood Crossing apartments on the site of the former Clairmont Apartments.

“It touches my heart to see what’s happening in this area,” Hilliard said. “It’s exciting to see this event going on and these kids getting these bookbags.”

Deloach, who grew up in South Rocky Mount, said he is thrilled to help bring something to the area. He knows the stigma and challenges of children growing up in certain areas in Rocky Mount. Deloach understands he is a role model for many of them.

“The kids love it because this was like a big party and big cookout,” Deloach said. “Being able to do this means a lot because I was in their shoes at one point. I try to tell them don’t let anyone tell them you can’t make it because if you’re from this area or any other around here known as the Hood that you’re seen as someone that’s not going make it. If I listened to people growing up coming from here, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.

“I preached to these kids, especially the ones playing sports, that you’ve got to take care of your school work and don’t succumb to peer pressure.”

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