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Seton Catholic basketball player delivering on and off the court

(Garrett Elkins Photo)

PHOENIX — For Seton Catholic senior power forward Garrett Elkins, basketball is a passion.

But while he focuses on his mid-range jumper, hoping to play at the college level after high school, Elkins is determined on doing something much more impactful: Making sure everyone gets a fair chance to succeed.

As part of AZCEND/I-HELP, which provides a safe haven and hot meals for the homeless, Elkins is giving back to those less fortunate.

“It’s one Saturday every month, me and my mom go down there, and just a bunch of people that are homeless at the moment come to the church and we help serve them with food, necessities that they need,” the power forward said.

“It’s interesting to hear what they’ve gone through, and I try my best to overcome that and help them be the man or woman they want to be.”

For his mother Laurie Elkins, it’s amazing to watch her son do so much for so many.

“It’s never ending. I think he has my heart, my passion and my patience and it’s awesome to see that in your kids,” Laurie said. “His love of life and love of helping people and just giving them himself and his time is so contagious.

“He’s doesn’t realize it but just his presence, he really makes more of a difference than I think he is aware of. The limits are endless because there is so much that he can do and he’s finding that out on his own.”

But he doesn’t stop there.

As a VBS and Kairos leader and student ambassador at his high school, Elkins is helping those younger than him find their way.

“I know it helps people because it helped me,” Elkins said of his experience last year with Kairos, a spiritual trip near Heber. “I went on it last year and this year I’m going to be a leader.”

Kairos was one of the things that really clicked for Elkins, who has been involved with the program since the start of high school.

During the weeklong VBS and Kairos trips, Elkins leads in talks to get to know those around him and what they want in life, while helping them grow spiritually.

In addition to helping out the community, Elkins also got to see what goes on behind the scenes.

During Chandler mayor Jay Tibshraeny’s Teen Leadership Academy, Elkins was shown the interworkings of the city and what its officials do on a daily basis.

While the power forward is interested in a possible career path after the week internship, his sights are more set on engineering, with mechanical engineering a possibilty.

As a senior, Elkins will soon head to college. As he considers a possible move out of state — he recently visited DePauw University — his passion won’t stay put in Arizona.

“I would obviously like to do more,” Elkins said. “It’s really important to me because I was blessed with the opportunities that I have now and I want to spread that out to the people that don’t really have those opportunities.

“I feel like not a lot of people have those opportunities and I think it’s important for them to have them.”

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