Three star track sisters were expected to join “The View” on Tuesday to discuss their new documentary, “Sisters on Track,” but received an unexpected surprise that will help them propel their future athletic and academic pursuits.
That same year, Sports Illustrated Kids named SportsKids of the Year sisters and showed off the magazine’s cover to the family on “The View.”
The sisters, along with their mother, Tonia Handy, shared the heartbreaking story of moving to a homeless shelter in Brooklyn after going through tough times and not being able to afford the rent. The family were then surprised to see the never-before-seen coverage of Sports Illustrated Kids on a giant screen in Times Square.
After Tyler Perry heard their story, he offered to pay their rent for two years so they could leave the shelter.
The family left the homeless shelter and lived in the apartment bare, sleeping on air mattresses. On their next appearance on “The View” in 2017, the daughters and mom were surprised with an incredible apartment makeover that left them speechless. Interior designer Mike Harrison made the entire two-bedroom apartment with $ 5,000 from Perry.
Netflix’s “Sisters on the Right Track” followed the daily lives of the three sisters as they tried to pursue their dreams in 2017. The documentary, streaming now, also shows the struggles Handy goes through as a mother to make ends meet for her family and the determination of Jean Bell, the head coach of the Youth athletics club who also works as an administrative law judge in the New York State Department of Labor.
Sisters Sheppard, Handy and Bell joined “The View” on Tuesday to share their experiences filming the documentary and take stock of their experiences with the pandemic.
“This film is about girls with courage. They are women who raise women, generation after generation, and who just teach empowerment,” Handy said of the documentary. “It’s a great piece.”
Handy worked remotely as a healthcare administrator as the world grappled with COVID-19.
“Things are going really well at work,” she said. “We work remotely, our department, and that helps because the girls are also far from school.”
“I’m happy to say that I now pay my own rent on my own,” Handy continued. “I am very grateful to Tyler Perry for giving me this invaluable help as he continues to help me today with the girls.”
Tai, the oldest of the sisters, had to stop running last year to focus on virtual learning. Now that the school year is over and New York State is opening, she is back on track.
“The past year has been tough,” Tai said. “It was difficult to do athletics and school at the same time.”
In an effort to keep pace throughout the pandemic, Rainn moved into Bell so she could continue training.
“The track team was kind of closed. Because of that, it was difficult for me to train,” she said. “Now I live with Coach Jean. I can train more consistently and more effectively.”
The youngest Brooke suffers from painful growing pains that forced her to take a break.
“I felt growing pains in my knee. When I went to physical therapy, I was told that I was not allowed to run until further notice,” she said, hoping to be able to resume it in December.
Bell, who started the Young Track Club in the hopes of avoiding trouble for young girls and inspiring them to pursue their dreams, had to shut down the club due to the pandemic, but has relaunched it now that many restrictions in New York have been lifted.
“The # 1 lesson that I teach these girls and all the girls on the team is to be resilient, not to give up hope and not to give up on your dreams and goals,” she said. declared.
The Young Track Club is funded by parent fees and fundraisers, but Bell said that “when there are girls who cannot afford sneakers, uniforms, sweatshirts or who cannot afford to travel, I fill that void with my little house fund that I save money to do things around my house. “
She went on to say, “If I’m not using my paycheck for good, then why am I here?”
After catching up with family and coach, “The View” couldn’t let them go without surprise: Brooks Running set up an educational fund of $ 25,000 for each sister, for a total of $ 75,000.
In addition to the Girls’ College Fund, Brooks also donated $ 5,000 to the Young Track Club to help cover membership fees, uniform costs and equipment needs for this year, and will equip all team girls with new racing equipment.
“The View” co-host and moderator Whoopi Goldberg closed with inspiring words for the Sheppard sisters, mother and coach.
“To us,” she said, “you are a shining example of what we can all do, how to do it better, be a better mother, be a better parent, be a better friend, be a better coach. . “