Morris family giving back to youth of community

Free open gym evenings slated to begin in May

GRAFTON—As a way to give back to a community that supported them tremendously when they needed it the most, one local couple will be hosting a free event for the area’s youths. 

In March 2014, residents Chad and Tosha Morris lost their four-year-old, Gavin, to neuroblastoma. 

T. Morris shared that throughout Gavin’s battle and continuing after his death, the community rallied around the family in support declaring they were “Gavin Strong”. 

“This community has supported our family so much over the years, and now we want to do something to give a little back,” T. Morris shared. 

 With a desire to give local youths the opportunity to just be able to act and feel like kids in a protected environment for a few hours, the Morris’s will be hosting open gym days at the St. Augustine Social Center starting next month. 

“Our goal is to provide a cost-free place for our youth to get some time on the court, whether they’ve never played or are a pro,” added T. Morris. 

The first open gym night will take place on Sunday, May 15, from 7:00-9:00 p.m., and will be held most Sundays following at the same time, exceptions will be announced in advance. 

Currently, Open Gym is welcoming all ages to join in to learn and play basketball.

And while there will be a few adult volunteers on hand, it is recommended that parents of those in fourth grade and below, stick around throughout the evening. 

C. Morris will be working with participants, coordinating games and assisting those wanting some instruction. 

In order to keep the event free, T. Morris will be operating a concession stand to help cover the costs associated with the facility use. 

“We want this to always be free for the kids who participate so, I will be running the concession stand to help cover the cost and will be accepting donations, as well. We hope to schedule basketball tournaments in the near future too,” She explained. 

She went on to say that anyone wishing to volunteer is more than welcome, noting that they have already had people reach out offering their time to the cause. 

While T. Morris shared that it would be preferred that volunteers have some knowledge on the sport of basketball, it is not a requirement, and any assistance will be greatly appreciated. 

The only requirement to participating in Open Gym is a signed waiver, which will be given out on the first night. There is no need to register. 

A Facebook event has been created for Open Gym and can be found by searching “The Social Center Open Gym” on the website.

 According to T. Morris, since this is their first-time hosting something like this, there is a possibility to expand depending on interests. 

“We want to see what the turnout is and adjust accordingly. If we get a ton of kids, we may have to separate them into groups at different times or open the downstairs for the little kids. Honestly, we hope we do get so many that we do have to expand,” she expressed. 


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