Basketball as a tool to mentor and educate Haitian youth
Basketball to Uplift the Youth
BAL's two program sites in Cité Soleil and Martissant each serve around 60 boys and girls ages 8 and up, and participation is free of charge. For both sites, the beneficiaries are divided into two groups; the first group is composed generally of youth ages 8 to 12, and the second group is generally for youth ages 13 and up. The Martissant site has been in operation since July 2013, and the Cité Soleil site was recently launched in July 2018.
The organization’s beneficiaries partake in a variety of activities centered on BAL’s two components, basketball and education. These activities are designed to provide the youth with the tools to develop their talents and abilities to the maximum. Since basketball is BAL’s raison d’être, the basketball component is at the heart of the programmatic activities. BAL provides basketball training through which the organization teaches the fundamentals of basketball to the participants: shooting, passing, ball handling, defense, rebounding, the rules of the game, etc. The basketball training sessions are held three times a week on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and are typically followed by intra-program scrimmages.
As for the education component, each BAL training session features a “Quote of the Day,” which is used both as an educational and a motivational tool. Upon joining BAL, each beneficiary is given a notebook and pen for the purpose of writing down the quote. Following each practice session, the beneficiary writes a paragraph on the quote and shares his or her thoughts on the quote at the beginning of the next practice session. Moreover, BAL takes the beneficiaries on educational field trips to visit museums, natural parks, national monuments and other landmarks.
Furthermore, a BAL Scholarship Fund was established on September 5, 2016 with the objective of supporting the schooling of the organization’s beneficiaries. Through the fund, beneficiaries earning grade-point averages of 8 or higher out of 10 at the end of the academic year are awarded scholarships for the following academic year. Furthermore, BAL’s beneficiaries are able to submit funding requests for language study programs, vocational courses, and university studies.
In an effort to provide the organization’s beneficiaries with the support necessary for them to achieve their full academic potential and reach the target grade-point averages set for the scholarship fund, BAL launched a Saturday tutoring program in January 2017 as part of the education component. Through the tutoring program, teachers trained by Anseye pou Ayiti (Teach for Haiti) are provided for the beneficiaries to assist them with their homework assignments and to help them better comprehend concepts they are having difficulty grasping.
BAL’s goal through these various activities is to form well-rounded young individuals. Each July, BAL organizes an anniversary celebration during which the organization recognizes and presents awards to top program participants across different categories. Furthermore, BAL organizes a holiday celebration for the youth every December, during which they receive gifts.