Two former MTSU basketball players are scoring points with people who may feel isolated and marginalized by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jacquez Rozier and Jimmy Oden are the co-founders of Therapy Unboxed, a sponsor-funded charity that provides pleasant diversions for people in nursing homes, hospices and homeless shelters in Middle Tennessee and Georgia.
“We’re always brainstorming, trying to figure out the best way to have a positive impact on the community, and this is one that we came up with,” Rozier said.
Each box delivered by Therapy Unboxed is a treasure trove: puzzles, arts and crafts, paints and paintbrushes, a stress ball — even electronics such as nook eReaders and Fitbits —and a little wind-up toy that plays “You Are My Sunshine” to add a little joy to people’s lives.
At present, Rozier and Oden deliver the boxes to save shipping charges. Rozier said they practice all the pandemic health protocols that are appropriate with physically vulnerable populations.
“We just want to create something to let them know that someone loves (them),” Rozier said. “We’re here for (them).”
Rozier and Oden’s college educations prepared them well for this project. Rozier, a Waynesboro, Georgia, native, graduated from MTSU in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication.
Oden, who attended Siegel High School in Murfreesboro and hails from North Augusta, South Carolina, graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in management. They were basketball teammates for one season.
Therapy Unboxed has applied to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization, and Rozier said plans are to expand and grow its list of sponsors, especially in Middle Tennessee.
“We accept donations of products, too, because that helps a lot, but they provide a monetary donation that we use to go out and get things for the box,” Rozier said.
For more information on Therapy Unboxed and how to make donations or become a sponsor, go to https://www.facebook.com/therapyunboxed/ or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina Logue (email@example.com)