It’s a tough time for kids and youth right now, especially when they can’t play team sports. While a local basketball shop can’t control when restrictions are lifted and kids get back on the court, they can at least offer a glimmer of hope for kids in Saskatoon participating in the John Howard Society’s social programs.
Saskatoon Basketball Shop Donates Puma Shoes to John Howard Society
The Loyalty, Saskatoon’s first and only basketball specialty shop, recently donated $4,000 worth of Puma basketball shoes to the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan. The shoes will be distributed to kids and youth who participate in their social programs to keep them excited and encourage them to keep playing until team sports are back on.
The John Howard Society provides prevention, intervention, support services and advocacy for individuals in Saskatoon who are at risk or are involved in the criminal justice process.
New Shoes Go a Long Way to Building Confidence in Kids
“Something as simple as a beautiful pair of shoes can go a long way to building a kid’s self-esteem,” says Blair Roberts, communications officer for the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan.
“I remember getting inexpensive, no-name shoes in elementary and dealing with shame and embarrassment. The reality is that there should be no shame in having inexpensive shoes but being young while trying to fit in and find yourself is a hard part of growing up. So these beautiful shoes will play a role in building their confidence, as well as reminding them that the community cares about them.”
The Loyalty Wants to Be Part of Building the Local Basketball Community
Jason Sears opened The Loyalty in November 2019. From the beginning, their shop has been focused on supporting the basketball community. They’ve hosted FIBA 3 x 3 tournaments, awarded swag bags and gift cards to student athletes of the year at Aden Bowman Collegiate school in Saskatoon and hired local ballers in their shop. The shoe donation was another way to give back.
“We want to be involved in the community, whether it’s through basketball or by helping out where we can,” Sears says. “We had the ability to donate some shoes and felt that was the direction to go. And everybody loves shoes.”
Sears says he can relate to the kids who wish they could buy the latest LeBron shoes or Air Jordans: “I can definitely understand where a lot of those kids are coming from — not necessarily having the newest stuff, or new stuff at all — so it’s good they can have something new and maybe feel a little bit better about the situation we’re in.”
Community Support Is Critical During the Pandemic
While it’s a tough time for everyone, especially businesses, Sears still wants to help out the local community in any way they can.
“Even with the pandemic, we think it is really important to businesses to stay the course and let people know we are here for the long haul to build not only our business but also the sport we love,” he says.
Saskatoon Rallies Behind John Howard Society
The Loyalty partnered with Puma to donate more than 30 pairs of brand-new shoes. For the John Howard Society, this is one of many ways they’ve seen the community rally behind them during the pandemic.
“Saskatoon’s generosity has been so encouraging and has allowed us to make sure we are able to care for our clients in the best way possible,” Blair Roberts says. “We are constantly amazed by the community support we receive.”
Other intriguing partnerships with the John Howard Society include a gourmet popcorn company — Emily O’Brien founded Comeback Snacks inside a federal prison and is making a difference for the previously incarcerated by raising awareness of the importance of re-integration after prison.
LEAD IMAGE: The Loyalty donated $4,000 worth of Puma basketball shoes to the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan, which will be distributed to kids and youth who participate in their social programs. Photo courtesy The Loyalty.