University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari and Basketball Team Bring Hope to Detroit Families

Aug. 13, 2010


DETROIT -- University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari brings hope and new shoes to needy children in Detroit.
Through a partnership with Samaritan’s Feet and the Boll Family YMCA, Coach Calipari, along with his staff and basketball team, will exemplify servant leadership by washing the feet of students from the newly established Detroit Leadership Academy. After washing their feet and providing the children with new shoes, Coach Cal and the UK squad will engage the students in basketball drills.  
The event will be on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Boll Family YMCA in Detroit.  
After participating in a Samaritan’s Feet shoe distribution for orphans in Haiti this past June, Coach Cal was deeply impacted by the simple yet profoundly humbling act of washing the feet of children and providing them with new shoes.
"It's really neat the way Samaritan's Feet does it," Calipari said. "You can't imagine the smiles and appreciation. It's an amazing feeling to give those kids even a few minutes of that excitement that comes with getting new shoes.”
Managed by the YMCA of metropolitan Detroit, The Detroit Leadership Academy anticipates hosting 300 students this year in grades K through 5. Volunteers from the University of Kentucky athletic team, the Boll Family YMCA and the Detroit community will celebrate the grand opening of the Detroit Leadership Academy by sharing hope and new shoes with 228 students grades K through 5.  
Since March 2009, Samaritan’s Feet has impacted over 6,000 children in need throughout Detroit. Nearly 1,000 volunteers from area churches, community groups and corporations, including the Detroit Pistons, have given back to the people of Detroit through Samaritan’s Feet shoe distributions.
“Serving the people of Detroit over the last two years has been an incredible blessing to Samaritan’s Feet,” said Manny Ohonme, founder of Samaritan’s Feet.  “We have formed strong bonds with the community and consider our Detroit-area volunteers as family.”  
The Greenfield Inn located in Allen Park, Mich., has provided accommodations for Samaritan’s Feet staff. All shoe recipients have been pre-registered and the event is not open to the public.

About Samaritan’s Feet

There are over 300 million children who go without shoes every day. It's their only mode of transportation. That's why Samaritan's Feet ( was started. Samaritan's Feet is a humanitarian relief organization based in Charlotte, N.C., that puts shoes on the feet of children all around the world. Our goal is to provide 10 million pairs of shoes for 10 million impoverished people in 10 years. To date, nearly 3,000,000 pairs of shoes for children around the world have been collected.   
Samaritan’s Feet was started in 2003 by president and founder Manny Ohonme. Ohonme received his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 from a missionary. He started playing basketball and other sports with this new pair of shoes.  He earned a spot on a traveling basketball team and eventually his high school team. Upon graduating high school, he was offered a scholarship to play basketball at University of North Dakota (Lake Region). He later received his bachelor's and master's degrees and pursued a career in supply chain and software marketing.

About the Boll Family YMCA

As part of the Y's rich 160-year history in Detroit, The Boll Family YMCA serves the local community and downtown business district and provides programs focused on youth development, healthy lifestyle and
social responsibility.