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Basketball at the JCC: A Unique Approach to Changing the World for the Better

Posted by Jesse Goleman on October 25, 2019

Pay it forward: An expression for when the recipient of an act of kindness does something kind for someone else rather than simply accepting or repaying the original good deed (

So what do the JCC’s youth basketball program and Catherine Ryan Hyde’s 1999 novel, Pay it Forward, have in common? Simply put, the JCC intentionally engages former basketball players as active participants in changing the world for the better.

Since their inception, both ‘Lil Champ Super Hoopers and the Harry B. Davis Basketball Clinic have relied on players who have come up through the ranks to serve as coaches. Instead of our former players simply riding off to their respective future athletic pursuits, we recruit them to be coaches and to give back to our community, helping to shape meaningful experiences for participants ranging in age from 5 to 14 years. What we have seen is that these young coaches, typically in grades 10-12, are teaching players much more than just how to keep their head up while dribbling the ball, good defensive posture or how to set a screen. In fact, our coaches’ impact stretches well beyond the basketball court, with players looking to them as role models, friends and problem solvers. We take great pride in training our coaches to not only impart their basketball wisdom and experience, but most importantly, to demonstrate the power that kindness and mutual respect can have in fostering well-being and building community. Over time, this approach doesn’t simply impact the community, but as players grow up and spread these values to their own communities, it changes the world.

I hope you will join us and our new partner, Drill4Skill, for another fabulous year of basketball and empowering our young leaders to change the world for the better!

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Jesse Goleman is the JCC’s Youth and Teen Athletics Coordinator. For questions or information, please fill out the form below and we will get back to you shortly!


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