Terry Rozier Foundation Spurs Coat Giveaway
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Gina Tucker saw her son, Terry Rozier, struggle through his early years on the south side of Youngstown – surrounded by violence and poverty.
Coming to the YMCA of Youngstown Central Branch was a safe haven, something the Terry Rozier Foundation provided Sunday to about 100 underprivileged children who were given winter coats, hats, gloves and track suits. The giveaway was sponsored by Puma.
The German-based corporation that designs and manufactures athletic and casual footwear, apparel and accessories has Rozier, an NBA player with the Charlotte Hornets, under contract to endorse its brand.
The 27-year-old professional basketball standout moved away from the Youngstown area about two decades ago, but calls this area of eastern Ohio home. The Terry Rozier Foundation, which has been in existence for five years, has a coat giveaway in Cleveland on Tuesday. Rozier played basketball at Shaker Heights High School. He also did charity events when he played for the Boston Celtics, along with his current team in Charlotte.
There have been about 500 children helped through these coat drives over the past couple of years.
Pizza Joe’s, the YMCA, City Kids Care, Inc.; Puma and the Terry Rozier Foundation helped make Sunday’s effort possible. Beside the coat giveaway, there were fun and games [including basketball] for the children, pizza, drinks and literature on upcoming events at the YMCA.
“Being that he was born and raised in Youngstown, he actually endured the violence here and everything,” says Gina Tucker, Terry Rozier’s mother and executive director of his foundation. “He actually understands a lot of the kids are growing up with the violence or want to fulfill their dreams. He can push them to be better.”
Rozier was unable to be at Sunday’s event because the Hornets played that night at the Phoenix Suns. Tucker says he wishes he could’ve been at Sunday’s event to meet with the children.
“Terry loves the kids,” Tucker says. “He will always say it’s all about the kids. Terry’s motto, and we represent him, is ‘It’s a blessing to be a blessing.’ He was blessed enough to get out of the situation he was in.
“He always wants to bless other kids and show them there’s a different way to do things.”
Tom Gacse, YMCA of Youngstown president and CEO, says it means alot for these children to receive these gifts from Rozier.
“He considers Youngstown his home,” Gacse says. “He wants to give back to the community. He was one of these kids that were looking for winter coats, looking for a little bit of help.
“It was difficult to get through winters. It’s nice that he’s able to now give back.”
D’Aundray Brown, the sports and recreation director/diversity, equity and inclusion director at the YMCA of Youngstown Central Branch, organizes year-round activities for area children – including having Rozier for a basketball camp. Brown, a former Ursuline High School and Cleveland State University standout, played professionally with the Cleveland Cavaliers organization.
“Everyone who is a pro athlete, even though they’re gifted and talented, they had someone who helped them along the way,” Brown says. “To see someone from the area like Terry, who’s from here, to come back is big for the kids.
“I know when I was younger and coming through the YMCA different pro athletes from the area that came back, I know how important it was for me to give me the push and believe in myself. I think it’s very important for things like this to happen.”
“We’re a big family, and we’re looking to get bigger and bigger,” Tucker says.
Pictured at top: D’Aundray Brown and Gina Tucker were part of the giveaway of Puma-sponsored winter coats, track suits, gloves and hats through the Terry Rozier Foundation at the YMCA of Youngstown Central Branch.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.