The last few days have been difficult for all those involved with Parramore’s New Image Youth Center, a spot for underprivileged children to learn, grow and stay away from trouble.
On Sunday night (Sept. 14), thieves broke into the youth center and stole approximately $6,000 worth of equipment, including computers, televisions and video games. Police are still investigating the robbery and are asking the public for any assistance in finding those who committed this crime.
An inspirational setting that has helped so many young people improve their lives was desperate for some assistance and encouragement. On Thursday, Sept. 18 that was delivered.
The Orlando Magic and Magic guard Victor Oladipo surprised members of the youth center with all new equipment they purchased. The grief and distress felt during the prior 72 hours suddenly transformed into feelings of gratefulness and exultation.“To give back to the youth is what I am all about,” Oladipo said. “It’s tough they got all this stuff taken away from them and I am blessed and fortunate to be able to help and give it all back.” “It touched a soft part of my heart,” he added. “I am here to show that I am just like them (the kids). We all are similar. I want them to know that we (the Magic) are here to help them.”
It was the kind of pick-me-up they all needed and deserved. Founded in 2004, the New Image Youth Center (NIYC) has helped so many kids avoid negative influences and give them the motivation to fulfill all their dreams and aspirations. “We are so grateful,” said Shanta Barton-Stubbs, executive director and founder of the NIYC. “For them (the Magic) to not forget that we are here means the world. We represent them every day. We are very happy they have come back to help us.”
“I am so excited to be able to show them that that people from the community have come together to make it happen,” she added.
This isn’t the first time the Magic have provided assistance to this facility. In 2008, the Magic awarded $10,000 to the center to purchase new computer software, school supplies, educational games and books. The Magic also helped refurbish the building with new plumbing, painting, furniture and computers.
Though the recent incident was a slight setback, the youth center’s goals and vision have not changed. They will continue to provide experiences that strengthen and empower the kids to achieve their ambitions by giving them the resources and tools necessary for success and happiness.
The Magic and Oladipo’s contributions on Thursday will certainly help in these efforts.
“To show the community we care and show them we are thinking about them is huge,” Oladipo said. “You’re going to see my face (in the community) a lot this year.”