CORAL GABLES — In just a few weeks, school children all over South Florida will be heading back to the classrooms. As the young people say goodbye to lazy summer days, they can say hello to brand new school supplies if they are at the Bank United Center on Sunday Aug. 17th.
For the fifth time SPASE (Some People Are Self-Employed) DESIGNZ, a marketing and promotions company, is hosting its fifth annual celebrity basketball game.
Book bags with school supplies such as pencils, pens, notebooks and other items will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Attendants will also receive a raffle ticket to win one of fifteen laptop computers.
“We are giving away over 4000 book bags,” said Javiar Fernandez, one of the company’s founders. The group has given away 5000 book bags since starting the event. Fernandez said this year the giving nearly matches their previous four years’ efforts.
Last year’s event, held at Northwestern Senior High School, had over 3,000 attendants. Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem was the team captain of one of the exhibition teams. Both Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade made a surprise appearance to watch the game and greet the community. NBA players are expected at this year’s event; however, specifics have not been made public.
Mayor Carlos Alvarez is one of this year’s event partners. The mayor won’t be playing basketball, but said he was looking forward to see the kids receive their free book bag.
“Mayor Alvarez partners with a number of community organizations, so residents can learn about County government, programs and services. Mayor Alvarez became involved with this event because students will receive much needed back to school supplies,” said the mayor’s office.
SPASE DESIGNZ was created in 2003 by college friends Jermell Jenkins and Fernandez. A year later Jenkins’ high school friend Gellyn Attis joined the team. The trio said their goal is to entertain the community and at the same give something back to kids in need.
“Our event is very interactive for the kids. At the end of each quarter, event sponsors do a basketball challenge where the kids get a chance to win prizes,” said Jermell Jenkins. “Also at the end of the game the players stick around to take pictures with the kids and sign autographs.”
“When the kids win their computers it’s like Christmas at the end of summer,” Attis said. “For some of the kids, due to their circumstances they could never imagine getting a computer. The parents are also jump for joy, everybody is doing back flips.”
Attendants will also be treated to a halftime performance by a surprise musical guest.
Other event sponsors are Comcast and The Children’s Trust. SPACE DESINGZ will also give a $1000.00 scholarship to Northwestern Senior High School, where Jenkins and Attis both attended.
Photo: Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, far right in the back, poses at the Spase Designz 2007 event with contest winners.
WHAT: SPASE Fifth Annual All-star Basketball Game
WHEN: Aug. 17. Doors open at 6 p.m., game starts at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Bank United Center, 1245 Dauer Dr. Coral Gables
COST: $10 in advance, $15 game day
CONTACT: Javiar Fernadez, 305-986-3926