Durant Athletes Give BackWith Durant High School Head Basketball Coach Jeffery Shotwell at the helm, athletes from the school’s basketball, track and field, soccer and cheerleading program were able take part in the holiday spirit of giving by helping those in need.
“It was good for these student athletes to get involved in community projects and experience the satisfaction of giving and helping those who are less fortunate,” Shotwell said as he explained that just before the holiday break the students were involved with a couple of fundraisers, including selling T-shirts, which resulted in raising $700.
The money was then given to Everyday Blessings — a foster home for children in Thonotosassa — in the form of a Walmart gift card.
“They need the money for everyday supplies such as baby wipes, diapers, kitchen items and laundry detergent,” Shotwell said.
According to Shotwell, the children at Everyday Blessings desperately need role models and people that they can consistently depend on in their lives. He believes that the Cougars’ athletic program has a number of students who will step to the plate and be the type of people who will fill those roles.
“Everyday Blessings restores hope for these kids, and it would be great for our athletes to be a part of that process,” Shotwell said.
After visiting Everyday Blessings, to deliver the Walmart gift card, Shotwell was deeply touched and hoped to get personally involved with the facility during the coming year, while he vowed to strongly encourage the Durant athletes to do the same.
“I literally wanted to scoop up all the babies that were there and bring them home with me,” he said. Being a new father himself, having an 8-month -old son, Shotwell was overwhelmed at how children can get into that type of situation.
But the giving this past holiday season did not end there, as the fundraising continued with the effort of the Cougars cheerleaders, who have raised just over $1,100. With that money, toys, books and games were bought and given to All Children’s Specialty Clinic in Brandon in order to help it furnish its playroom and to give the therapists new supplies to use with children in therapy.
“They gave us a wish list of items they needed, and we were able to get most everything on the list,” Shotwell said, adding, “My assistant coach, Brandon Waraksa, even donated his own Wii video gaming system to the clinic, along with some games.”
During an earlier interview, Shotwell explained that it is important for young athletes to appreciate that there is more to life than just sports and that being successful is much more than just winning on the court.
For more information about Durant High School, please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.

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