Last July, Tony Freccero participated in a two week program in Brasil. He was part of a volunteer group called “Bolar Basketball School.” The school is situation in the slums of Rio de Janiero.
One thing that struck Freccero was the fact that so many children were without shoes. Many played barefoot. Freccero is going back to Brasil this year to change that.
Many people have old athletic shoes sitting in a corner of the closet collecting dust and spiders. This was Freccero’s inspiration. His plan was to ship 1,000 pairs of used shoes to the children of Brasil. According to his website Triple Threat Academy, he more than met the goal. The collection period which ran from May 25, 2005 to August 1, 2005, brought in a total of 3,067 pairs of shoes, thanks to donations by Nike, Mizuno, the Golden State Warriors, and individual donors. Partnerships with Brasilian aid organization will make shipping and distributing the shoes much easier.
Project Shoe Assist is only the beginning. Freccero hopes to continue the shoe collections and be able to ship them to other places.
Freccero plans to go back to Brasil in 2005 and stay 3 months. He’s been learning Portuguese so he can better communicate with his students. In addition to basketball skills, he hopes to teach the kids some English.