Jimmer Fredette has long had the love and attention of Cougar nation, and after giving grade school children the chance to meet the man behind the Jimmermania craze, his fan base grew by several hundred.
Fredette, the Fredette Family Foundation, Provo City School District and Provo Mayor John Curtis all joined together on Aug. 1 to address bullying problems at the “Stop Bullying Jimmerosity Jam 3-on-3” at the Provo Recreational Center.
Every player, ranging from third to 12th grades, was given the opportunity to sign an anti-bullying pledge provided by the Provo City School District and received a contract poster and photo signed by Fredette. The youth were also addressed by Mayor Curtis, Provo School District representatives and Fredette himself.
“You want to be remembered for being a good person,” Fredette said.
Fredette spoke to the children about the importance of respect on and off the court. He related being good to others to basketball, telling the young athletes that it’s important to be a good teammate and good person.
“I really am passionate about 3-on-3 basketball and having respect for everyone,” Fredette said. “It’s important to be respectful to everyone you meet. If teammates aren’t respectful toward each other it wouldn’t be a good team.”
Bullying has become a shocking epidemic in Provo. After conducting a survey of their students, the school board found that 85 percent of students feel good at school. Though the percentage seems high, it means 15 out of 100 students don’t want to come to school. In order to encourage kids to feel comfortable in their learning environment, curriculum is being added to their usual studies that teach the children what to do to help their classmates feel safe at school.
“Safety is paramount and anything less than 100 percent means there are kids out there who don’t feel safe at school. Our response? We do what we do best and that is education, education, education,” said Melissa Hamilton, principal of Spring Creek Elementary.
BYU men’s basketball head coach Dave Rose and many of the current players were there as well, aiding Fredette in the campaign against bullying.
“It’s awesome that Jimmer is back in Provo and encouraging the kids to stop bullying. It’s important for kids at this age,” said center Eric Mika.
Sixty-four teams participated in the 3-on-3 game, and 21 of the teams were community sponsored for those who were unable to pay the entry fees. The tournament gave the kids a chance to work together as friends with the common goal of putting an end to bullying. The day was made particularly special when the players got the chance to meet their hero.
“It’s really cool. I never thought I’d get to see Jimmer because he is far away in Sacramento,” said Clayton Shumway, a young fan of Fredette who played in the tournament.
In honor of Fredette and his family’s foundation, mayor John Curtis officially declared Aug. 1, 2013, as “Share your Jimmerosity day” in the city of Provo. Curtis understands that the youth are our future and encouraged the kids to be brave and stop bullying.