Santa came just in time for the players of the seventh and eighth grade girls basketball teams at Southside Middle School.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) granted a $1,500 donation to the two programs so they could purchase team shoes for the season.  

“A reward like this really helps them stay on track, staying out of trouble and getting good grades which means a lot here,” said Erik Hoglund, seventh grade girls basketball head coach.

Jaleel Pryuer, president of Delta Tau Delta and the seventh grade girls basketball team assistant head coach, raised the issue to the IFC.

“The girls wanted team shoes, but their athletic program doesn’t have enough money to get everyone shoes,” Pryuer said. “I know they really wanted them, so I reached out to IFC to see if they would be willing to donate.”

With the $1,500 donation, the programs were able to buy 17 pairs of shoes for all of the players on both teams.

Jaleel said he felt good knowing that the players didn’t have to worry about buying shoes.

“That’s one thing I never want a kid to stress about with them trying to find money or their parents trying to find money,” Pryuer said. “Just knowing that they can come to practice and focus on the task at hand and be ready for the game coming up that week is really good.” 

The entire donation went toward the shoes, but Hoglund and Pryuer are planning to surprise the teams with another gift soon.

“It warmed my heart for sure. Being able to help these girls just focus on basketball really makes me happy,” Hoglund said. “It’s awesome seeing them be able to wear the same shoes to look like a team. They’re going to have a good season.”

Hoglund said that the girls were excited after telling them about the gift.

“That kind of lit a spark that day for a good practice and eventually winning our first game of the season the next day,” Hoglund said.

Alaija Douglass, a seventh grade basketball player, felt happy when she first heard about the donation.

“I was surprised we were getting shoes because we’ve never got them before,” Douglass said.

Pryuer said how Greek Life is trying to extend a helping hand outside of the university.

“Ball State Greek Life as a whole is really trying to get more involved in the Muncie community and not just our Ball State community,” Pryuer said. “This is just one of the steps that we’re taking forward to reach out.”

Contact Evan Weaver with any comments at erweaver@bsu.edu or on Twitter @evan_weaver7