Kareem Milson, one of three Youth Outreach Workers at the Club, who is mostly known as Coach, started playing basketball when he was 6 years old. With his dedication to the sport, he ended up landing himself a full scholarship to college in the United States. Coach used basketball as a tool to land him free education but it also kept him out of trouble – but he never thought of it as a tool to become a mentor, to use it to have a positive impact on our young people, and teach it as a coping mechanism to life.
Coach acts as a mentor to many of the young men and women that come into the Club. Specifically through basketball, they are able to bond, connect and shed light on life. Although we cannot be there to protect our youth at all times, we do our best to broaden their understanding and decision making when it comes to life in general. Being at Ball Runs gives the young people, and the individuals who work on the frontline with our young people, a forum to discuss different forms of stress they may be facing and how to make smart, healthy, and critical decisions. The space is a direct tackle on supporting mental health, to help avoid things like depression, anxiety, and many other mental illnesses we may not even realize we are battling.
“When young men have so much energy, a lot of people do not know how to deal with that or themselves. Basketball is an avenue to blow off steam.” – said Coach.
Basketball, and any sport for that matter allows young people to have something to look forward to. The ability to grow in the many streams of life are a key aspect to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Being not only a space to relax your mind, it also supports your physical wellbeing. Sometimes you are unable to express how you feel and do not know who to turn to; our gym is that go to. A space to truly unwind.