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X’s & O’s – Inaugural Column by Kenny Holdsman, Co-Founder, President & CEO February 24, 2016

Kenny HoldsmanPhiladelphia Youth Basketball, Inc. was established eight months ago by a group of passionate, capable, and diverse leaders. The “tie that binds” PYB together is the belief that the culturally and historically iconic game of basketball in Philadelphia has a unique power and potency in the lives of urban young people. When coupled with positive coaches and mentors, academic supports, leadership and character development opportunities, and health and wellness access, the game can be a catalyst for significant social impact.

PYB’s supporters and volunteers are bullish on the notion that sports-based youth development, using Philadelphia’s most predominant game, can be a game changer. High school graduation and college attainment rates among lower-income communities of color are alarmingly low. Levels of youth violence, poor childhood health, and disconnectedness from the education system are unacceptable. We know we can make a difference at a scalable and sustainable level.

In less than a year, we have built an organization and a board of directors. We have launched a program with Temple University for 80 girls and boys from four North Philadelphia middle schools. We have raised $750,000 in early donor capital, and we have acquired a piece of ground in Logan in partnership with The Goldenberg Group, the City of Philadelphia, and the people of Logan. On December 3, we made a public announcement to declare our intentions to build a world-class center, program, and organization with an array of some of Philadelphia’s most authentic leaders including Coach Fran Dunphy, Coach Bill Ellerbee, Mayor Jim Kenney, Coach Aaron McKie, and Coach Dawn Staley. We are real, relevant, and ready to do great things with and for the young people of our city and region, and for the game of basketball.

PYB is being organized as a “movement” in the sense that we are engaging scores of leaders and grass-roots citizens who share our values. PYB is an enterprise that is way bigger than any one person. PYB is being built in the image of the game of basketball, which disregards lines of race, gender, ethnicity, neighborhood, and socio-economic status.

On behalf of my board and staff colleagues, I invite you to become a PYB leader. We have a multitude of opportunities for individuals and organizations to become engaged, included but not limited to financial support. If you have the desire and ability to help us build our program, center, and organization, we need you!

Please take a look at our website and social media platforms, and reach out to me at kholdsman@philadelphiayouthbasketball.org. We need you and so do Philadelphia’s young people.

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(c) 2017 Philadelphia Youth Basketball, Inc.