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Our Rising Stars program: It's not just basketball

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Matthew Faraci, Sayville

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Matthew Faraci, Sayville

The Rising Stars Youth Foundation was founded in 1996 in response to the demand and the need for yearly programs dedicated to the welfare of kids in the New York City and Long Island communities. Rising Stars makes an impact on the lives of kids by using the power of teams to promote education, introduce important values and provide the life skills kids need to make excellent decisions.

The Rising Stars youth basketball program has made basketball a fun and exciting experience. We play two seasons: a winter season from October to March and a spring season through the end of June. Players on the team are from all different schools in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We practice twice a week and play games and tournaments on the weekends. We do a lot of community service and have a lot of team bonding experiences. I have so much fun hanging out with my teammates.

Rising Stars commitment is lifelong, and its goals are not limited to winning games or tournaments. It uses basketball as a platform to encourage a deeper appreciation of service to others. Rising Stars guides and tracks each kid in the program from grade four through high school, working to see that every high school senior goes on to college. They then assist every Rising Stars college graduate in finding an internship or job. They also welcome back graduates as volunteers and coaches.

We also have the Rising Stars Scholars, a program that provides academic scholarships for players to attend private school. They also provide tutoring and family educational advocacy, community service opportunities, SAT prep, college planning workshops, educational seminars, mentorship and scholarships.

There are 39 kids who receive academic scholarships to attend private schools as part of our program.

Info: 917-202-2533, risingstarsyouthfoundation.com

Tom Hughes Rising Stars, Garden City

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