FARMVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Young hoopsters got the chance to show off their skills on Saturday after the group “All Things Autastic” held its first basketball fundraiser at Farmville Middle School.
The organizers of the fundraiser said they hoped the event would teach participants about inclusion and love of the game.
Director for the Autastic Hoopstars Basketball Program, Ashanti Williams, said the money will go toward the funds for an autism and sensory recreation center. The school said part of the funds will go back to Farmville Middle School.
Williams said the team started after her son, Ziggy, did not make his school’s basketball team.
“It all started when my son Ziggy didn’t make the basketball team last year. And unfortunately, he was kind of upset, but he, like, reminded me ‘Mom, Michael Jordan didn’t make the basketball team the first time he tried out,'” Williams said.
“Here we are with our own basketball program and allowing our students and our kids from the community to be included and accepted in the sports world.”
Farmville Middle School officials said they were glad to be able to hold this event for the community, also saying that people with autism are just like everybody else.
“They’re just like everybody else, they just learn a little bit different,” said Farmville Middle School organizer Diane Hudson. “They’re just like any other kid and should have all the same opportunities.”
Parents said they were overjoyed to see their kids included.
“Because they’re not always accepted within the community and among EC people, so it felt for them to be able to play and be able to be with people that are like them,” said parent Lawanda Davis.
The athletes said they had a great time.
“We had so much fun,” Ziggy Williams said. “The most fun part was when I stole the ball, made the shot.”