NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - When the Nacogdoches Boys All Stars take the court at the 8th annual Pineywoods Showdown, they will play with autistic East Texas Children close to their heart.
The team has chosen to represent Nacogdoches based Helping House at the game. The decission was made by coach Danny Enloe.
"I have a background in special education," Enloe said. "I wanted to help with that area. I found out about Helping House and then learned of several people close to me that use the school."
A small brick house in Nacogdoches serves as the hub of Helping House but there services extend throughout the county.
"We have full time school. We also do consulting and parent training," Helping House Director Amanda Johnson said. "It is not cheap to do this. It can cost a family several thousand dollars a month for this, so any help we can get is a good thing."
One of the players has a special connection to the charity. P.R. Johnson will not only play for the group, he will play for his sister Madison.
"My sister Madison has autism and has been part of Helping House ever since she got into school," Johnson said. Helping House is a great organization for autistic kids."
The players on the team come together from several schools with a long-standing rivalry. The players all are in agreement to give up the rivalry for one night if it means helping a great organization.
"As athletes we don't realize how blessed we are to just go out there and play," Nacogdoches Senior Connor Covington said. "A lot of those kids would like to play. I think it is pretty cool to play for them."
"All these players have known each other for years, some playing against each other since little dribblers so for them to come together and play as one I think it says a lot of their character," Enloe said.
The eighth annual Pineywoods Showdown will take place on Thursday April 28 from the Central Heights Gym in Nacogdoches County. Admission is $5. Children under 5 are free.
This is the third piece in a four part series highlighting the charities involved. On Wednesday KTRE will run the final piece that focuses on CASA of the Pines and how they help children navigate the legal system.