According to Paul Savramis, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way his organization, Rising Stars Youth Foundation, works. Typically, the basketball outreach program hosts classes and events after school, on the weekends, and during the spring and summer breaks. However, social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have put an abrupt and unfortunate stop to this. Read on as Savramis opens up about a few things that are going to look different for Rising Stars for 2020.
Q: Rising Stars is known for its annual gala. Will this go on?
Paul Savramis: Sadly, for the first time in nearly 20 years, we have had to cancel our fundraising gala. This event is made possible by generous support from our community, and it is one of the primary ways that we spread awareness of the needs of our 200+ families. The gala, which was originally slated for May 19, would’ve brought together business and community leaders as well as some of the faces of Rising Stars Youth Foundation.
Q: What does the money raised during the gala go to?
Paul Savramis: The donations we receive support all of our programs. This might mean providing scholarships to hard-working scholar-athletes or helping our senior students with college counseling. We also provide tutoring and support for the members of our eight outreach teams and under-served communities.
Q: What else has changed for Rising Stars since the outbreak began?
Paul Savramis: Something that stands out is that we have moved our tutoring and even coaching online. Our boys and girls, who we miss dearly, still have access to their coaches and mentors, but instead of one-on-one chats on the side of the court, we are using online meeting software to stay in touch.
Q: How can people help now that the gala has been canceled?
Paul Savramis: Prayers and well wishes are appreciated. However, we always welcome cash donations, which we use to further our mission of Play. Learn. Grow. Donations may be mailed to our headquarters in Garden City.