According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, over five million Americans are currently suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, reports Rising Stars founder Paul Savramis. As the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., Alzheimer’s disease continues to impact families and communities across the nation. Paul Savramis and other Rising Stars leaders recently organized a family fundraiser to benefit a local organization dedicated to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Q: How did this family fundraiser originate?
Paul Savramis: Personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease, Long Island native and NBA draftee Gordon Thomas founded the Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic as a way to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Q: How was Gordon personally affected by this disease?
Paul Savramis: Gordon lost his father in 2010 to Alzheimer’s Disease. As a result, he felt the need to assist others who are currently experiencing the same diagnosis in their families. Continue reading
According to Rising Stars President Paul Savramis, the organization sees competition and being a part of teams as a excellent way to apply life skills developed through basketball. Teams help build and develop character and important values such as leadership, responsibility, and setting goals. Rising Stars Travel Basketball is offered seasonally, beginning in the third grade and is available until they graduate. Rising Star’s goal is to keep kids enrolled in teams throughout HS and provide continuity, says Savramis.
Q: What is travel basketball?
Paul Savramis: Travel basketball is more competitive and demanding than intramural or in-house basketball. Teams are chosen through a tryout process in mid-September by the travel coaches. Traveling basketball is for those truly committed to developing their basketball skills and competing at a higher level. It requires a greater commitment and each player is expected to attend all practices and tournaments. Continue reading
Q: You speak about how the Knicks made it possible for an unforgettable experience. What was that experience?
Paul Savramis: We have worked with the Knicks in the past in offering clinics for kids and their parents throughout the Metropolitan area. Many of these were on Long Island or Westchester and they were not possible for our NYC kids to attend or enjoy. Then, early this past June, the Knicks called us and asked if we would like to have 50 of our NYC kids come to a free clinic at Madison Square Garden.
Q: That sounds too good to be true.
Paul Savramis: It did. And it just got better from there. The Knicks not only offered the clinic at the garden, but they told me that they would allow the kids access to the garden through the locker areas and the players tunnels. The kids would feel like NBA players for the day. Continue reading
According to Paul Savramis, Donate Life America is a not-for-profit alliance of state teams and national organizations dedicated to increasing the donation of tissue, eye and organs. The group’s mission is to encourage people to sign up for their home state’s donor registry. Their work includes donor registry supervision, Division of Motor Vehicles outreach and school education.The issue is not the organization or its mission, it’s how to help with awareness of both.
Former Rising Stars participant and current Rising Stars ambassador Jay Williams received the Donate Life Champion award in 2012, reports Paul Savramis. A graduate of Duke University, Williams was named national player of the year in men’s basketball for the 2001-2002 season. He played professionally for the Chicago Bulls and the New Jersey Nets before accepting an analyst role with ESPN in 2008. Jay’s involvement with Donate Life is also a personal one. His mother and acting Rising Stars President Althea Williams is a kidney transplant recipient. Continue reading
President Barack Obama recently called for more extensive efforts by political and social leaders to encourage achievement among Hispanic and black males.
The president unveiled his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to keep teenagers on track throughout their formative years, reports Paul Savramis, founder of Rising Stars. Appearing alongside Obama at the public announcement were teenagers enrolled in the Chicago-based “Becoming a Man” program, which serves at-risk youth in the city. Special guests in attendance at the event included Rahm Emanuel, Michael Bloomberg, Colin Powell and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Under the new initiative, community groups, foundations and businesses work together to devise support programs that allow young people greater access to educational and social resources. A number of foundations have donated upwards of $200 million to promote this program, notes Paul Savramis. These community leaders and teachers are serving as an example of what youth can accomplish when they work hard in school. Continue reading
Rising Stars is proud to showcase the tremendous dedication of those who have helped mentor children and encourage their social and academic development with the 2013 Rising Stars Awards. Recent honorees, according to founder Paul Savramis, include Calvin and Grant Hill, Michael Strahan and Alan Huston. Another award recipient, MidOcean Partners CEO Ted Virtue, established an educational fund that issues private school scholarships to top-performing Rising Stars participants. Paul Savramis recognizes the following individuals as this year’s honorees.
Rising Stars 2013 Man Of The Year
Thomas Quinlan is the CEO and President of R.R. Donnelley & Sons, the world’s largest communication and printing business services, says Paul Savramis. In 2011, Thomas Quinlin earned the National Human Relations Award from AJC. The Man of the Year Award honors philanthropic and professional leadership. Quinlan fits the bill by maintaining active involvement in organizations that concentrate on business development, health and literacy. He is currently serving Pace University on the Board of Trustees.
Rising Stars Humanitarian of The Year
Among other professional roles, Heather Robinson is a columnist, philanthropist, entertainment personality and entrepreneur. More importantly, she is a devoted wife and mother. As the CEO of Robinson Network, Heather has partnered with professional athletes and celebrities to expand and build charity organizations. According to Paul Savramis, Heather and her network have given to Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots, New York Presbyterian Hospital and many more organizations. Heather is married to former NBA player Clifford Robinson, and the couple lives in New Jersey with their 7-year-old twin boys.
According to Paul Savramis, founder of sports organization Rising Stars Inc., teamwork is a necessary asset for all young people in their journey through life. When Rising Stars decided to add a basketball program for girls, Savramis’ team went in search of a proven leader both on and off the court. The girls’ basketball program at Rising Stars was intended to be a wonderful complement to the organization’s camps and travel programs, says Paul Savramis. Such an important curriculum required the right person to volunteer ample time and energy to this commitment.
That dedicated professional turned out to be Bethany LeSeur, an expert and leader in basketball coaching and training. At Rising Stars, the new girls’ basketball program will flourish under her guidance, believes Paul Savramis. When she first expressed her desire to join the organization, the Rising Stars team replied that she would be a perfect fit.
The storied career of Bethany LeSeur is an inspiration for all Rising Stars participants, observes Paul Savramis. At Garden City High School, LeSeur helped her squad reach the state Final Four on three separate occasions. Garden City also earned three championships in Long Island and Nassau County. Her individual titles included All-American, New York’s Gatorade Player of the Year and Miss New York Basketball. But LeSeur didn’t stop there. During her time at Georgetown University, she earned more than 400 rebounds, 200 assists and 800 points. Only six other players have achieved this feat. Bethany LeSeur was a team captain for two years. Continue reading