Play With Purpose Sports and UST Hosts Hoop it Up Camp for Youth in Foster Care
Sports are valuable, especially in the lives of children. Not only do they enable children to develop physically, but they also promote life skills like empowerment, leadership, integrity and teamwork.
Using a sport like basketball as a vehicle to involve young athletes from Houston schools and leagues in a higher purpose than just winning the game takes these life skills to a new level of teaching.
That is one of the goals of Play With Purpose Sports, a non-profit organization that benefits foster children, orphans and children with cancer.
For PWPS, inviting foster children in group homes in Houston, who benefit from these young athletes’ altruistic efforts, to events is another way to really nurture them and enjoy that day of being in the spotlight.
Enter UST Men’s Basketball team who hosted a Hoop it Up Camp for these youth in foster care.
Foster Kids Get Day on the Court at UST
UST Men’s Basketball Coach Anthony Medina ’12 and the team planned a Hoop it Up basketball camp on campus with Play With Purpose Sports to support these foster children in January. It was definitely a win-win because UST men’s basketball student-athletes had an opportunity to participate in a community service project and the children felt valued.
“This camp gave UST men’s basketball student-athletes an opportunity to be involved with foster homes in the city.” Medina said. “They had an opportunity to spend time with children who are excited about the game, while making a difference.”
The camp’s goal was to help these children feel nurtured and part of a team environment.
Play With Purpose Sports
Play with Purpose Sports was founded by Houstonian Karen Boyd after a trip she and her son, Hudson, took to Zambia and South Africa that changed their lives when they saw hundreds, even thousands of children on the streets. Upon returning home, Boyd had a teaching moment with son when he was upset one day about having a bad athletic game. She encouraged him to think beyond himself and play the sport for a higher purpose. She reminded Hudson about Zambia and suggested that he “play for them.”
It was then, in 2012, that PWPS was born to work with foster care children and orphans. Hudson went out and recruited his friends as the core group. Now it is a world-wide organization that has raised more than $100,000. The organization has a two-fold objective. It develops selfless attitudes within young athletes that call them to sacrifice and think past the moment at hand and use their gifts and devotion to make a difference by helping raise money for orphans and at risk children locally and worldwide.
The program uses statistics based on athlete’s performance (steals, points, assists, tackles, interceptions, triples, etc.) to raise funds for orphans, at risk youth and children with cancer. Each athlete who participates would seek monetary pledges from sponsors based on their stats achieved in a game, tournament or competition.
“Students get donations from family, friends and other sponsors,” Boyd said. “PWPS has an app where we help the young athletes keep track of their stats. When the tournament or game is over, we help them send their stats to their sponsors to collect the pledges.
For the Love of Basketball
The connections between Medina and Boyd’s son run deep. Medina has coached the young man in basketball since he was seven years old. When Boyd and Hudson decided to launch PWPS, they consulted Medina about their plans. Fast forward to Medina accepting the coach’s position at UST, and the connection continues.
“We love UST,” Boyd said. “The athletes are such good young men. They have such high integrity. That is the type of athletes we look to connect with – leaders on and off the court.”
Service is Part of UST’s Student-Athletes Training
“As a basketball program we are always looking for opportunities to use basketball as a vehicle to share important messages and connect with people,” Medina says. “Our platform here at UST allows us to be involved in making a differences for children who have difficult situations.”
We hope this camp becomes an annual event and sparks interest in others in the community to get involved,” Medina said.
Boyd said that they are working to bring these foster children to upcoming UST men’s basketball games.
How to Get Involved in the Cause
Getting involved as a young student-athlete is easy. Go to PWPS website and enroll on the website. “We lead them in the process,” Boyd said. “We let them know about our upcoming events and how to play with purpose for their next game.”
As an adult, you can get involved by volunteering with the events or as a sponsor. PWPS takes foster children to Rocket’s games. The next Rocket game outing in March 17.
“The more athletes and the community who get involved with these children, the more they feel valued, and that is priceless,” Boyd said.