Flint children arrived in style to the early February game between the Detroit Pistons and the Charlotte Hornets.
The kids, who were also going to see Hornets standout and Flint native Miles Bridges, rode in a brightly colored bus with the words “Be Impactful” painted on the side.
Once arriving at Little Caesars Arena, the children were the guests of honor of Flint native and Pistons owner Tom Gores as part of the “Be Impactful” initiative launched at the start of the 2021-22 season. Gores and the Pistons joined forces with select Flint non-profits to bus children and families to LCA for games, food vouchers, tickets and merchandise.
Gores hatched the idea as a way to help underserved kids who live in Flint, the town where Gores was raised after he moved from Israel as a small child.
“Sports have a real ability to bring people together and provide inspiration and hope, and I want to make sure kids in Flint have the same opportunities as everybody else,” Gores told The Flint Journal.
The first night was held Nov. 19 when the eventual world champion Golden State Warriors visited LCA. Shelter of Flint, the Greater Flint Health Coalition, Voices for Children, Berston Fieldhouse, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint and Big Brothers Big Sisters Flint were the participating groups.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a frequent philanthropic partner and friend of Gores, accompanied the kids to the game.
“Tom Gores has stuck with us and he keeps asking what can we do for Flint kids,” she said. “They come away from these events with hope and inspiration and passion to bring back to our community.”
The Pistons partnered with United Way of Genesee County to organize the events.
“Stepping into an arena like this one, filled with amazing faces, gives these kids the opportunity to engage in that activity and being excited about things outside of what is happening on the home front,” said Isaiah Oliver, the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
“What Tom is offering, not only to kids to kids in Flint and southeast Michigan, is the opportunity to … make the community a better place to live it, to contribute to and love in. When you start talking about time, talent and leveraging ties, it really makes for a better world for all of us.”