Prime Time Ballers, community offers ‘a leg up’ for young man escaping city violence

Community

HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — A young man homeless, trying to work and go to college, with nowhere to turn, trying to escape the current surge in violence in the City of Rochester. It was a couple he knows through basketball who came to his rescue.

It was a party back in September on Pennsylvania Avenue, where a mass shooting happened, that ‘Woody’ knew Rochester had a serious problem. 

“That was my last party, I said ‘nah’ that’s just not it,” says Woody.

Woody’s been homeless, now staying at a hotel in Henrietta, fleeing the violence in the City, it’s on a scale he’s never seen, with some of his friends buried. 

“It’s like a movie. It’s like a movie,” he says of the violence. “Just being out of the city, I feel safe and comfortable.”

Woody works full-time and is trying to get his associate’s degree. He also has dreams of playing basketball. It was through basketball that he knows Karen and Gerard Iglesia, known on social media as the ‘Prime Time Ballers’.

“Living in the hood, you might have a place to stay, but you’re risking your life staying there,” says Karen.

“Per capita, we’re worse than Chicago,” says Gerard on the gun violence.

They heard about Woody’s situation and took to social media to get him help, so far thousands of dollars, and food, and clothing. 

Iglesia says Woody is one person stuck in all this violence asking for help, trying to do the right thing. She and her husband are helping others, but she says there are so many more out there in the City right now just like Woody.

“It’s easier for him to join a gang, sell drugs, deal drugs,” says Karen where he could make hundreds a day the easy way. That lifestyle she says, often leading down a negative path.

Iglesia says if a kid like Woody has a solid base to spring from, he can rebound on life. “But sometimes, you just need a leg up,” she says.

The Iglesias are also trying to raise money to get Woody a car. He spends over $20 per day on Uber one way to get to work. 

If you’d like to help make a donation, Karen says their Venmo can be found at @primetime585

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