Red Devils visit SAFE BASE

Giggles and full out laughter filled the air outside and inside of Lincoln Elementary the past two Wednesday afternoons. Probably much like it does each day during SAFE BASE, Iola’s afterschool program, but it was different.
There were deep voices mingled in that laughter. Allen County Community College’s men and women’s basketball teams were on site to help the SAFE BASE students with their play time and study time.
Members of the Red Devil men’s team were there with nice weather and the students were on the playground. It was obvious that the students were thrilled to have the group of young men, most 6-foot tall or more. They were jumping up trying to high-five the players.
Don’t think the players weren’t having fun, too. The smiles and laughs just kept coming. SAFE BASE teachers had a tough time calming the students down to go in for homework time.
When the Red Devil women came this Wednesday, the students were in the gym ready to go to individual classes but the excitement was still there. There were screams of delight — not all from just the students — as the players were introduced and scattered out among the students.
Once in classrooms, the players, both men and women, buckled down with the students to help with homework. They worked math problems. They went over vocabulary words for an upcoming test. They helped students read. Others read to students.
Then both group of players gathered back in the gym to give a few basketball lessons to the students in Marlene Scoville’s basketball class.
There were fundamentals taught different ways by each group. The fun came out quickly as the students tried to shoot over their men’s player partner. It came out when the women’s players were showing defensive slides.
“It’s been a few years since we’ve had the basketball teams from the college come in and help the kids. It’s always a great day for our kids when the players come in,” said Angela Henry, SAFE BASE director.
“We’re always looking for more community groups to come in and be involved with our students.”
“Oh, my players loved it,” said Andy Hamilton, ACCC women’s head coach. “We want to be more involved with the community and this was great.”
“Our guys enjoyed going in and being with the kids at SAFE BASE. It was great way to interact with the kids,” said Mike Hayes, ACCC men’s head coach.
Saturday’s Register will feature photos from the two visits.