In October, the Rising Stars Youth Foundation held its first outreach tournament to much fanfare and even more cheer. According to founder Paul Savramis, the competition brought together the trifecta that makes the Rising Stars Youth Foundation formula a success: Basketball, Family and Education.
Q: When did Rising Stars Youth Foundation launch its initial outreach program?
Paul Savramis: These grassroots initiative programs, as we call them, have been in place throughout the city for the past six years and actually placed on Long Island last year. These are programs offered as outreach teams through local YMCAs and community centers to at-risk and underserved children. This includes all team activities free of charge, tutoring, and family memberships to the YMCA. Many of the students are given access to these new programs at a young age. They come from low-income families where addictions and gang-related issues are common.
Q: Why is it so important to introduce children to team sports and the importance of education at an early age?
Paul Savramis: I think that children, more than anything, want and need to feel like they belong. They long to be part of a team and to contribute to their community in a positive way. They do not want to feel like they are alone. Using basketball as our vehicle, we are able to let children see, from an early age, how all that is possible and how they can solve personal problems, as a team by applying the same basic concepts found on the basketball court to issues at home or at school.