AUBURN, Ala. (WHNT) — On Friday, the Auburn basketball team had the chance to give back to the local community with the inaugural Hoops for Hope AU Camp.

More than 35 athletes, primarily with Down syndrome ages 12 and older, had the chance to be coached by and have some fun with the Auburn players. The mission of Hoops for Hope Au is “to provide a fun, encouraging and positive activity for individuals with special needs and their families, while interacting with the men’s basketball team and staff”, per the Auburn Tigers website.

Auburn men’s basketball head coach Bruce Pearl was part of this project when it began at Tennessee in 2008 and it’s something his daughter Jacqui works very closely with. So Pearl said he’s glad to finally bring the program to Neville Arena.

“These are athletes you know, and they’re young people and they want to be coached and they want to have fun and they want to compete and it’s just awesome to have these kids and their families here at Auburn. We’ve picked it up now here and I’m grateful for my daughter Jacqui who came from Knoxville and said dad this was such a fun program, let’s do it here at Auburn. I had the team together this summer getting ready to travel to Israel and said let’s go ahead, let’s do it so we’re having a lot of fun,” Pearl said.

The athletes were also able to get autographs from the players at the end of Friday’s camp.