For years WD Mohammed basketball coach Farad Abdurrahman knew he needed a better means to getting his players to and from their games than piling into cars and using Lyft and Uber.
“We had to get to the games, so I used to have my assistant coaches packing up the cars, most times we were in cars, and a few times we took Uber and Lyft but most times we pack them up in my minivans and two other people’s cars, a couple of parents and we drive them all around, and we have to play everywhere, so these are long rides,” said Abdurrahman.
Abdurrahman coaches at Mohammed Schools of Atlanta, a small Islamic school in East Atlanta that hosts K-12 students. The student population is around 120 students.
The basketball team is off to a good start, and Abdurrahman says some of his players are on the radar of Division 1 colleges, but despite the talent on the court, getting to the games was still a challenge.
Fortunately, assistant coach Gary Weems knows Atlanta philanthropist and entrepreneur Jason Lobdell, who is part of a group known as the Circle of CEOs.
The Circle of CEOs is made up of five Atlanta young Black successful businessmen. “I called my brothers and said, ‘Look, there’s this school and they need help getting to their games, and so I thought, what better way than to get them a bus,’” said Lobdell.
It took about a month for Abdurrahman to find a bus that would suit their needs, and last week, just as the basketball season is heating up, the Circle of CEOs unveiled a new $27,000 bus with the team logo painted on the outside and plenty of room for the players to stretch out and relax on the inside traveling to games.
“They’re holding back the tears; you can really see the joy and the appreciation that they feel from someone giving back like this,” said Weems after the new bus was unveiled to the team.
Lobdell says he grew up in the same neighborhood as Mohammed Schools and wants the next generation to see positive Black men making an impact. It’s the CEOs’ way of paying it forward and elevating the Black community.
“I wanted them to look at me and say, he’s from my neighborhood, he [one of the other CEOs] might not be, but they linked together, they came back and they’re making an impact and not just that, those are some bright students at that school,” said Lobdell.
Abdurrahman says one of the pillars of the Islamic faith is charity, and the bus gifted to them exemplifies that. “I’m constantly telling the kids, listen, it is your duty once you get older and become successful to give back to this community,” he said.
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