CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– Illini basketball player André Curbelo shared stories and shot hoops with kids at the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club Friday afternoon.
Curbelo found a home in the Boys & Girls Club when he was a teenager back in New York state. The 19-year-old left his family in Puerto Rico when he was 13-years-old to follow his passion.
He was in his element at a “Meet & Greet” at the club in Champaign.
“It reminds me of when I was 13- or 14-years-old,” Curbelo explained. “They were able to provide me with a home to practice, not just for me but for my teammates.”
Central High School freshman Sean James-Anderson admitted he hadn’t heard of Curbelo before Thursday, but said he loves to play basketball.
“It means a lot because the Boys & Girls Club here, they teach you a lot, that not everything in life is sunshine and rainbows so I feel like he probably learned the same thing over there,” James-Anderson shared.
According to Curbelo, the event was all about making sure these kids know they have just as much potential.
“I just wanted to get that point across to let them know that if I can do it, they can do it as well,” he added.
Tom Dillavou, the owner of Fagan Scooters, was behind the fundraising event for the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club. He said he offered to pay Curbelo, but the basketball player told him, “Absolutely not,” he’d love to donate his time.