Empower Young People To Build Strong Relationships With Their Education, Peers, Adults, Community and Future

Delivered by passionate coaches and academic mentors, our program creates opportunities for young people to fully develop as students, athletes and positive leaders.

For over four years, Philadelphia Youth Basketball (PYB) has devoted itself to building a relevant and impactful youth development and community empowerment organization. For PYB, relevancy means inclusive and authentic programs that are transformative, and create opportunities for young people to grow intellectually, socially, civically, and athletically. Our program models infuses the iconic game of basketball with holistic academic modules that are taught by passionate, well-trained coaches and academic mentors. We believe our program model empowers young people to develop more healthy and positive relationships with their education, peers, adults, community and future trajectories. Our program model continues to be improved by the entirety of our program staff, the majority of whom have come from the same communities as our young people. The involvement of indigenous leaders from Philadelphia ensures that we have a high degree of voice and influence from the exact communities in which we seek to serve.

What is the community need that this idea addresses?

In Philadelphia, the high school dropout rate for lower-income children in neighborhood schools is approximately 45%, and less than a quarter of those who graduate enroll in a four-year post-secondary experience. The young people we serve come from vastly under-resourced communities that lack positive relationships with schools, peers, and adults. Young people must develop meaningful relationships with learning, school and community, as well as with peers and adults, to be able to create and actualize a pathway for success in life. This notion of “self-determination” is powerful and one that is not easy to achieve, especially for children who come of age in under-resourced families, schools, and communities.

What is the solution that is currently in place?

Basketball is an iconic game in our city and region. It has roots in most every neighborhood in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Furthermore, the game transcends lines that historically divide us–lines of race and ethnicity, neighborhood, and economic circumstances–to create relationships that bind us together. We use this culturally resonant force of basketball to attract the participation of young people in our Middle School Partnership Program (MSPP), a 20-week after-school program. Its model is holistic, with basketball as a powerful context. Our off-court academic enrichment units capture the hearts and minds of our student-athletes, inspiring them to think critically about current sport and society issues, and to formulate their own point of view. We also expose our young people to healthy meals and nutrition information, and place positive coaches and mentors in their lives to build meaningful relationships.

How will a Key to Community Grant help?

The Key to Community’s grant would help PYB in scaling our signature Middle School Partnership Program (MSPP) from 8 to 16 school sites, doubling the amount of young people we empower. It would also enable us to significantly deepen the professional, personal, and leadership development of 25-30 of our coaches, mentors and key partners who are emerging community leaders, across all 3 of our core programs. This intentional capacity building will enable our most potent adults to develop an even deeper approach with young people, thereby maximizing their high degree of cultural currency and potency with young people who come from similar circumstances as our dedicated team. MSPP is a high-value program that we are growing and innovating. This grant would help us drive and measure the youth development and community impact that will enable our organization to reach literally thousands of more young people in the next decade.

Idea Submitted by:

Philadelphia Youth Basketball (PYB) was established in June of 2015 by a diverse and passionate group of leaders in the youth, business, philanthropic, education, nonprofit, and basketball communities. We are motivated by the combined potential of our city’s iconic sport when blended with academic enrichment, leadership development, positive coaching and mentorship, and health and nutrition supports to have transformative power in the lives of kids and communities. It is our mission to create opportunities for young people, especially those from under-resourced families and communities, to reach their full potential as students, athletes, and positive leaders. We are dedicated to building a high-impact program, organization, and future Youth Basketball and Education Center to impact the lives of thousands of Philadelphia’s most deserving kids and help them acquire the capacity to self-determine, by setting and achieving goals, and by becoming potent and positive forces in their own lives and the world around them.