In the Community: Lopez Donates Gifts to Son of a Saint Youngsters
December 23, 2012
“What size shoe do you wear?” asked the youngster.
“Size 20,” replied Lopez as he took off his shoe and plopped it down on the table.
Jaws dropped and every kid at the table got wide-eyed as they looked at the NBA star’s enormous shoe. It wouldn’t be the last time they got wide-eyed during the afternoon.
Hornets center Robin Lopez visited with the kids of the Son of a Saint Sports Foundation Sunday afternoon, Dec. 23, at the Wilson Center on Tulane University’s campus. Lopez answered questions for the kids before handing out a gaggle of holiday gifts to each one of them.
In addition to the gifts, Lopez donated 300 books, 20 sketch pads and Hornets t-shirts for each one of the boys. Through the help of his sponsor Adidas, the Stanford product was also able to obtain a pair of Adidas shoes and other gear for each one of the boys. After passing out gifts, Lopez headed out to the Tulane University baseball field with the boys to throw the football and play around before providing pizza for the kids.
“I always had a lot of opportunities growing up, so I just want to do anything I can to make sure these kids get to have the same opportunities that I had growing up,” said Lopez. The California native also offered a few words of advice to the kids: “Make sure you surround yourself with good friends. I’ve been fortunate that I was blessed to be surrounded with a great family, but also I’ve got a great group of friends that I’ve had since high school who have helped me get to where I am.”
The Son of a Saint Sports Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Bivian “Sonny” Lee III to enhance the lives of fatherless young males. The children in the program range from 9-13 years of age and remain in the program until they receive their college acceptance letter, when they are then called upon to become mentors in the program. The Foundation offers help to the boys in areas of tutoring, mentorship, counseling and sports activities.
Allejandro Castellon is a current member of the foundation and was one of the children who received gifts from Lopez. Castellon, who aspires to study sports medicine and become a team doctor one day, was extremely thankful for the gifts and knows the organization has had a tremendous impact on his life.
“It’s truly just a blessing,” said Castellon. “The program itself has really helped a lot of us. It’s a small group, but one day I would hope that I could continue the program and help it grow. This group, without having any male figure in our lives, it helps us because we have something to look forward to. It feels amazing and all the experiences like these in this program have just been phenomenal.”