2018 saw unprecedented growth for Paul Savramis and his nonprofit organization Rising Stars Youth Foundation. Savramis explains that just one year ago Rising Stars had a single outreach program, which was hosted at the Great South Bay YMCA. Today, Rising Stars has six boys teams and two girls teams for student athletes between fourth and eighth grade.
Q: What has contributed to such growth?
Paul Savramis: Rising Stars has enjoyed tremendous success over the last three decades. We have proven that giving children a positive outlet and somewhere they can be constructive is one of the best ways to keep them off the street and in school. Our exceptional leadership team has done an amazing job of working with local YMCAs and community centers to offer our afterschool programs and summer camps to students in need.
Q: Why is it important to reach students at an early age?
Paul Savramis: When students are in elementary and middle school, they become more susceptible to peer pressure. Unfortunately, in certain parts of the city, this often leads to drugs, gang violence, and other negative actions. Reaching children during these formative years gives them an opportunity to see that they don’t have to become a statistic or a victim of circumstance.
Q: How does Rising Stars Youth Foundation identify students that would best benefit from a private education?
Paul Savramis: Rising Stars Youth Foundation offers scholarship opportunities for some of New York’s most at-risk students. These students and their families must complete an application and make a commitment to academics. Scholarship recipients are expected to maintain a high GPA and to regularly engage in community service volunteer events.
Q: What do you see coming for 2019?
Paul Savramis: No one can predict the future but many wonderful things are already in the pipeline. We of course hope to reach as many children as possible because every life changed works to break the cycle that keeps these kids from living up to their potential.