Sasha Bush

The Greater Ashland Beacon

             It is said that there is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others. It's also said that there is nothing purer than the heart of a child. Two local young ladies have proven both statements to be true. Jaidyn and Aryanna Gulley have been fundraising for their 2023 basketball travel/club expenses for quite some time now. So far, the girls have managed to raise a total of $350 toward their $5000 goal. Both girls play for the well-renowned team, the West Virginia Thunder. Anyone who has children involved with any type of travel ball is all too familiar with the expenses that come along with being on a travel ball team/club.

            Recently, the Gulley girls have been going around the local elementary schools in hopes of encouraging other young girls to sign up for the Ashland Youth Basketball League (AYBL). The AYBL is something both girls hold very near and dear to their hearts. When the girls learned that the number of participants was very low for the AYBL, they became very concerned and even more so when they learned that not a single participant that had signed up was from Crabbe Elementary School. Shannon Rae Gulley, the girl’s mother, shared with the Beacon that, “the girls were upset about this and decided that other girls from their elementary school should have the opportunity to play. So, our girls decided to take $300 of the $350 that they had raised for their travel ball expenses and donated it so that at least five girls from their elementary school could have an opportunity to play basketball.”

            Jaidyn Gulley shared, “Crabbe is very special to us, and we hope that lots of young Crabbe ballers showcase their talent during the AYBL. We love Crabbe! Crabbe and the teachers that were there were very instrumental to us. We still consider them family to this day. So many people have helped us along the way that we just felt it was the right thing to do. Giving back and giving a chance to someone who maybe didn't have it. We know what it is like to not always be able to do something because our parents weren't always able to afford it; so, if that was the reason someone wasn't playing, we wanted to step in and help.”

             Aryanna Gulley, Jaidyn’s sister, also commented, “I agree with everything Jaidyn said. Crabbe is very special to us. Jaidyn and I both played basketball for Crabbe during the Ashland Youth Basketball League. Crabbe was always considered the underdog, I think. But we played hard, and I am pretty sure we went to the championship that year. Basketball is such a great sport and Crabbe is a great school. Some of my closest friends today were a result of Crabbe and the Ashland Youth Basketball League and it’s because of them that I fell in love with the game. I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not been a part of that. I am grateful for the opportunity. We know there is talent there and we hope to see it this season and for many years to come.”

            Both Jaidyn and Aryanna have big dreams of continuing to contribute to this cause every year and hope to eventually reach a point where they can pay for every Crabbe Elementary School girl that wants to play for the AYBL. Shannon Ranae Gulley, the girl’s mother stated, “for the girls to make an effort all on their own to help someone else and follow through by showing such a caring gesture is simply wonderful. Their selflessness is very admirable. I honestly couldn’t be prouder. Our girls are very special.” Jaidyn stated, “it feels good knowing that we could help. I hope they find happiness in the game!” Aryanna added, “It’s nice to be able to be helpful!” Aryanna also shared her motto with us…the hashtag #WeOverMe! What a statement from such a young soul. We should all be so wise as to live by young Aryanna’s motto.

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