MT. VERNON — A major fundraiser to collect funds for the Happy Feet campaign has been scheduled.
Seth Franco, retired Harlem Globetrotter, and the band Matt Vollmar and the Great Romance will be the featured attractions at the fundraiser 7 p.m. Saturday, June 14 at the Mt. Vernon Township High School Auditorium.
The Happy Feet project is a program through Kingdom Seed Ministries that provides new, brand name gym shoes to low-income kids for the start of school in the fall. Last year, the Ministry was able to provide 500 pairs of shoes for elementary school students in Jefferson County. This year, officials are hoping to increase the outreach.
"We wanted to host and event that had an appeal to kids. When thinking about gym shoes, there was a logical tie-in to basketball," explained Monte Jo Clark, Kingdom Seed Ministries project director. "I ran across the story of Seth Franco. He has a very inspirational story of how he had to make a choice. He left the Globetrotters to inspire kids. And then we needed more than just a speaker, and this band is traveling around the Southern Illinois area." The Great Romance is a worship/rock band from the St. Louis area.
Franco became the first Caucasian member of the Globetrotters in 2003. The team selected Franco as spokesman for their countywide character education program. Franco experienced a crippling injury in college and was told his basketball dreams of being a professional player were over. While recovering from his injuries, he was unable to play basketball on his feet; he practiced with his hands, working on hand-eye coordination. The basketball tricks he learned during his injury would later become to key to living out his dream. When back up on his feet, Franco landed a leading role in a movie, and then recommended to the Globetrotters by former NBA star Kenny Smith.