High School Sports: Cape Central girls basketball coach Aaron Lee starts ‘Tiger Run’ for community (2/21/23) | SemoballClay Herrell ~ Southeast Missourian
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Aaron Lee is still getting settled into Cape Girardeau but he’s also working on making a change in the community in the process.
Lee, with the help of VIP Industries and Regency Management, is starting what is called the ‘Tiger Run’ that takes place every Friday beginning on Feb. 24 at Cape Jr. High School from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Lee’s goal is to keep children off the streets during hours that he claims are known for high crime rates.
“We want to have them in a safe space where they can come play basketball, have a good meal and something to drink and be around successful role models,” Lee said.
Lee expects that most people will show up for the basketball, but his hope is that the speakers he has will have an influence on them.
“When you get them coming in on a regular basis,” Lee explained. “That’s when you have the guest speakers come in. That’s when you have a workshop that you do. Once they get used to coming, we’ve created a level of trust. Then, we can start implementing some of these other things that will carry them throughout their day when they’re not in the gym.”
Lee started a similar program when he was in Carbondale, Ill., and is hopeful to involve members of the Cape Girardeau community to help him.
“One thing that will be vital for me is I’m going to involve as many Cape Girardeau community members and advocates because they know the kids better than I do,” Lee said. “It’s vital that I surround myself with very strong and recognizable community advocates. It has to be a community effort.”
Lee encourages anyone interested in assisting with donating food or drink to reach out to him at 618-203-1442.
“We’ve already got people that have agreed to sponsor water, Gatorade, and a couple of meals,” Lee said. “We would like to feed them every time if possible so there won’t be a need to go back to a fast food place or go anywhere else because they’ve already been fed.”
Each player will receive a free shirt and jersey upon signing a waiver. For interested individuals under the age of 18, a parent or guardian will need to sign a waiver on the first night which is Feb. 24.
Lee welcomes all members of the community to participate. To sign up, show up at Cape Jr. High School on Friday, Feb. 24 at 11 p.m.