Originally published Oct. 15, 2021 by the Gonzales Weekly Citizen.

By Scott J. Anderson

Jennifer Reames wants her PE students at Bullion Primary School in Prairieville to have a ball. Several, in fact.

Reames used funds provided by the school to purchase soccer balls and other equipment for her classes. But she still had a hurdle to cross.

“With such a large amount of students, not everyone was going to have their own,” she said. “It was quite challenging.”

So she turned to her neighbors for help.

Reames posted a request for gently used soccer balls and basketballs on the Neighborhood app. The social app connects residents in selected subdivisions to exchange information. Reames said people in her neighborhood use it for finding electricians, babysitters and lost dogs, among other things.

“I was thinking it’s a two-way road,” she said. “I wanted to take away stuff people don’t use and give it a purpose.”

Reames said she received only one response to her request, but it was more than she expected.

Former LSU basketball player Carl Seiner reached out to help.

Seiner played for the Tigers from 1971 to 1974. He is president of the Ascension Youth Basketball Association, an organization he has been part of for more than 30 years.

“I have always helped the local schools when I can, especially the athletic and PE departments,” Seiner said in his response to Reames’ request. “I would like to donate money or buy equipment.”

Seiner met Reames at the school to donate $500 to the school’s PE department for new equipment.

“I was hoping to pick up 10 to 12 balls,” Reames said. “I live in a large neighborhood. I thought surely people have stuff in garages just taking up space. I was just trying to get some used equipment.”

Reames is grateful to Seiner and the leadership at AYBA for their support, including Ronald Williams, Cassi Harris, Corey Wilson, J,J, Quigley and Drexel and Avery Perkins.

AYBA is a recreational basketball league for boys and girls living in Ascension Parish. For more information, including how to register for the 2021-22 season, visit ayba.info.

Reames said she knows the values of asking for help when you need it.

“You just don’t know who has something you are looking for,” she said.

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