Elite basketball program making positive impact on local youth
When former Elkton High School basketball star Raheem Gatewood looked around at the growing violence and crime in neighborhoods around his home town, he wanted to give back and give youth in the area an outlet to getting a chance at a better future.
Gatewood began the Cecil Strive Elite Basketball program with just 12 kids in the program. Now in 2022, the summer travel league program, will have more than 70 children participating and showing their skills across the region for college coaches.
“The program was built to give kids in Cecil County and this area the exposure to travel basketball,” Gatewood said.
“It is something that is challenging and very competitive. They can be more exposed to college coaches and to different opportunities and more of what the kids are getting in the (Baltimore) city program if you understand.”
Gatewood and his coaches kicked off the year on Thursday with a big celebration inside Cherry Hill Middle School.
The five different age groups that make up teams in this local program includes children from Cecil County, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The teams hit the court Saturday, May 21 in West Chester, Pa.
“We want to continue to grow and help more kids get a chance to maybe play at the next level, in college, but the biggest thing is to see the kids come back and give back to their community later,” Gatewood said. “Take as many kids and get them off the streets due to the violence and things that are going on.”
Local stars people have seen compete at the local high school level are part of the program and playing for the Elite such as Erijae Williams of Elkton High School and Jonte Jenson of Tri-State Christian Academy.
The local American Legion and VFW have also had a hand in the program and steering the local youth in a positive direction.
“We would like to thank the VFW Post 8175 and American Legion in Elkton,” County Commissioner Earl Piner said after attending the event on Thursday. “They have done so much to help the youth in the community.”*