In early 2018, Rising Stars made an important change to its website and overall future outlook.. Here, Rising Stars Founder and President Paul Savramis explains the launch of Rising Stars Youth Foundation.com. and the organizations “new” look.
Q: What does the addition of the term “Youth Foundation” mean for Rising Stars?
Paul Savramis: Our title as Rising Stars Inc. never truly defined the scope of our work nor was it a clear presentation of what we were. There were not many Rising Stars in 1996 and we were the only ones associated with youth sports and education. As the years past many others began using the name in one form or another and it began to really get confusing.
We actually developed a site “About Rising Stars Inc.” that helped to separate and better describe our identity and the two working models ..athletics and academics that were at the core of Rising Stars..
Rising Stars has always been a community based youth-oriented organization that utilized basketball to promote education.
But today, we are so much more than a basketball program and afterschool center for troubled and underserved youth.. Rising Stars serves more than 350 student athletes and, in addition to basketball, provides educational , community and volunteer opportunities. We provide a foundation for youth and the new website helps put that into focus.
Q: How does the organization continue to help children through the “Play. Learn. Grow.” platform?
Paul Savramis: Our mission and philosophy has not changed. Basketball remains the vehicle we use to enroll student athletes into our yearly programs and the Play aspect of this philosophy. Students Learn teamwork and valuable life lessons on the court through Play and must maintain their grades to be part of the team. For those who show promise in the classroom but lack the means, we offer scholarship opportunities to attend private high schools. We also provide academic support. We Grow through active volunteering in the community along with interaction and cooperative communication with others.
Q: What are some of the events student athletes are invited to attend?
Paul Savramis: We host Grow workshops throughout the year; one recent event that comes to mind was our Beautiful Me workshop earlier this month. This was a wonderful opportunity for our female student athletes to encourage one another and highlight the best qualities of themselves and their friends. It was a self-esteem boosting event that can go a long way in helping girls, who are under so much pressure to be “perfect,” appreciate their own kind of beauty.
Q: How does the children’s participation in community charities help them on and off the court?
Paul Savramis: By exposing these kids to life outside of their bubble, they gain a greater understanding of the world and are more equipped to enter adulthood with an open heart free of judgment. We also offer a yearly curriculum of seminars and workshops that deal with issues such as bullying,drugs,gangs peer pressure and other issues teens face. By building a bridge between the child /family,schools and community they get the values and life skills they need to make correct decisions throughout High School. It’s a simple model with a simple plan yet it works. Over the past decade over 90% of Rising Stars seniors graduated HS College ready and issue free.