For many high school students, sports offer a creative outlet, a physical challenge, and a pathway to success outside of academic pursuits. Athletes Services Network America (ASNA) is a nonprofit basketball program that seeks to prepare high school basketball players for their futures. ASNA is gearing up to introduce its #Ally4Athletes program, an additional curriculum that hopes to educate players of all races about social issues, and to build understanding and positive influence among our state’s young athletes.
Basketball As an Outlet
ASNA cites that basketball is the most popular youth sport with over 1 million American students playing for school-sponsored teams. This remarkable count doesn’t include those playing on non-school sponsored teams. Moreover, Black males make up 74.4% of the NBA and 58.9% of the NCAA, evidencing that basketball is an important sport for Black men.
Xavier Silas, who played for University of Colorado and in the NBA overseas, noticed that there was a surplus of high school basketball talent in his home state. However, there was a lack of scouting interest, and thus, less opportunity for Colorado’s talented players to move on to collegiate and national level basketball teams. He recently founded Colorado Prep, a high school basketball program that allows Colorado players to participate on a more competitive level and gain additional exposure to college scouts.
Athletes will play a national schedule and participate in a competitive scouting circuit each winter. In conjunction with this busy travel schedule, players will receive first-hand experience studying while on the road. Silas believes this will better prepare athletes to balance college-level sports and academics.
In our nation’s tense climate, nonprofits are stepping up to shift the focus to education to promote change and empathy. Specifically, the nonprofit Athletes Services Network America is committed to preparing athletes for success after high school. Now, the organization has shifted to include a curriculum platform to educate participants on social issues. It will launch its beta test curriculum with Colorado Prep and is currently accepting donations for continued development of the program.
Social Change in the Classroom
#Ally4Athletes explains that for social change to happen, we must first understand the underlying issues. It explains,”All of these negative ideas have been learned and Athletes Services Network America is on a campaign to give young athletes the opportunity to learn the positive.” By introducing social issues into the conversation from a young age, ASNA believes that students will be better equipped to effect change in the future, regardless of the platform they are speaking from. By incorporating this alternative curriculum into a rigorous basketball program, players will be more well-rounded athletes, as well as spokespeople for positive change.
In light of recent events, it’s encouraging to see organizations stepping up to facilitate positive social change by altering the approach. #Ally4Athletes in conjunction with Colorado Prep is expanding opportunities, spreading education, and talking about social issues so that we may move forward, in a positive way, together.