Pro basketball player & Tampa native, Tarence Kinsey, helps mentor hometown kids

Tampa, Florida– Tarence Kinsey stood in front of a few dozen kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Tampa and delivered a message he hopes sinks in quickly.

“Don’t try to believe everything that’s on TV,” the 2002 Jefferson High School graduate said. “Listen to your parents. Respect everyone.”

They’re words to live by for an audience that needs to hear it.

Kinsey is a Tampa native and professional basketball player. The game he loves had taken him from the University of South Carolina, to Memphis and Cleveland in the NBA, and overseas to Spain, Italy and Turkey.

In 2009, he created the Tarence Kinsey Foundation. Its goal is to “strive to equip teenagers with assistance in the classroom and life skills to help them become well-respected individuals”. His hope is that he can help get children from this area to college, and on the right paths in life.

“I don’t think I’m doing enough. That’s why I want to make this foundation grow,” he said. “In a couple more years I want to see everyone from this club graduating.”

Kinsey grew up in a good home, but is working with some kids that aren’t necessarily as lucky. On a trip to the mall to buy a birthday gift for his grandmother a few years ago, he noticed the way kids were dressing and how adults responded to their appearance.

“The older people would clutch their purse or move out of the way,” Kinsey said during an interview on Friday. “Not out of respect- It was because they were kind of terrified with the way (the youth) carried themselves.”

As a result, Kinsey’s foundation went to work providing mentors for kids who needed them. This past year, the TK Foundation helped three students earn full college.

He hopes it’s just the beginning.

“Promote yourself the way you want to be perceived,” he said. “Never give up.”

Kinsey will host his foundation’s annual celebration dinner on July 13 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Tampa. The event, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., is $100 per person and all proceeds will benefit the foundation’s programs.

Sponsors of the event include; financial advisors, Zach Eidson and Austin Greer, Attorney Karnardo Garnett and LegalJourney Law Firm, Affinity Insurance agency of Tampa, UNATION, and Seven marketing.