YMCA’s Cham­pi­ons fin­ish sec­ond sea­son

Dorchester Star - - SPORTS -

CAMBRIDGE — On the front of the Dorch­ester YMCA’s Mid­dle School Travel Bas­ket­ball Team jer­seys it reads, “Cham­pi­oning the cause for com­mu­nity, char­ac­ter and change”.

Over the four months of the pro­gram, now in it’s sec­ond year, the 15 boys on the team showed change not only in their skills on the court but within their char­ac­ter as well.

Coached by Pas­tor Abra­ham Lank­ford, his fo­cus was not only to give these young men the skills they needed to be bet­ter on the court but to give them skills to be bet­ter in ev­ery­thing they do. The play­ers were re­quired to main­tain pass­ing grades as well as rep­re­sent the YMCA’s val­ues of re­spect, re­spon­si­bil­ity and car­ing dur­ing games and prac­tices.

“Bas­ket­ball was just the de­liv­ery method of our real pur­pose, men­tor­ing” said Youth De­vel­op­ment Direc­tor Ash­lie El­liott. “Through the bas­ket­ball pro­gram, we are able to show these kids that peo­ple care and that they can suc­ceed”.

And suc­ceed they did, not only did some play­ers’ grades im­prove, but the Cham­pi­ons ended their sea­son with a 12-2 record. Most games were hosted at the Dorch­ester YMCA where the stands were full for ev­ery game.

Fam­ily and friends packed the stands cheer­ing the play­ers on and driv­ing home the YMCA’s mis­sion — to work side-by-side with our neigh­bors to ad­dress crit­i­cal com­mu­nity needs that help kids de­velop into smart, re­silient adults, for peo­ple to im­prove their health and build a sense of com­mu­nity and for our most vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple to get the care and sup­port they need.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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