Tobias Harris Takes Time to Visit Schools, Deliver Supplies

Bucks donate more than 2,000 sets of school supplies to area schools

After posting 11 points in the Bucks 97-80 preseason victory over the Cavaliers on Oct. 9, forward Tobias Harris had a stop to make before joining his teammates at practice the next day.

As part of the Bucks annual Back-to-School Distribution, Harris, along with Bango, took time to deliver more than 2,000 sets of school supplies to three area schools - supplies that H.W. Longfellow School principal Wendell Smith said will make a huge difference for his students.  

“We have an unbelievable number of kids who are coming to us below the poverty line, so school supplies are a real issue,” Smith said. “Being able to take care of the school supplies for them is critical and one less concern their parents have to deal with.”

Approached by the Bucks, the relationship between the school and team seemed like a natural fit.

“We believe very strongly in the power of partnerships,” Smith said. “We always say that dynamic adults create great change for kids, and that’s exactly what happened here with the Bucks, their donation, and the visit by Tobias.”

While the main goal was to deliver the supply sets that included binders, folders, paper, pens, pencils and colored pencils, Harris also took time to speak to several classrooms at Vieau, Albert E. Kagel and H.W. Longfellow schools about the importance of hard work and academics.

“My message to the kids was to stay in school and to continue to give 100 percent in the classroom,” Harris said. “Even as a professional athlete you can only play the game so long, so you need a back-up plan and that’s your education. I wanted to show them the importance of reading, staying focused and giving 100 percent in whatever it is they want to do.”

For teacher Tishante Farris, his message was one her fifth graders won’t soon forget.

“You can just see how their faces lit up,” Farris said. “They see so many women in this field so having a strong male role model like Tobias telling them to stay in school really means a lot.”

The Bucks, who will take the floor Oct. 13 in their first preseason home game against Detroit, have provided more than 20,000 Milwaukee city school students with both supplies and positive role models like Harris through their Back-to-School Distribution.  

“Kids really look up to basketball players and you see the smiles on their faces when you walk in a room,” Harris said. “We’re put on such a high pedestal as athletes, it’s only right to give back to the community of Milwaukee and the kids.”