I AM because WE ARE

I Am Because We Are (IABWA) is an anti-violence mentorship program that uses basketball to develop young people ages 13-18 into the next generation of leaders. Deeply rooted in the African philosophy of “ubuntu” in which our sense of self is shaped by our relationships with others, we combine off-court, social-emotional, identity development curriculum with on-court skill building and gameplay. IABWA’s coach-mentors use restorative strategies to build a thriving community and provide safe spaces for youth—especially those who have been impacted by gun violence and the justice system. Participants benefit from support in mitigating these traumatic environmental circumstances and welcome the program’s empowering redirection in their lives.

The sixth cohort of I Am Because We Are will run from January 23rd to April 28th, at two different locations. For more information on each specific site, check out below.

Fill out an participant interest form

What makes I AM because WE ARE unique?

From the beginning, participants and coaches will create individualized development plans to ensure every young man has precise goals during and after the program. Each participant will also reflect upon their journey throughout the program, through structured journaling and conversations. The combination of extraordinary and relatable coaches and mentors, coupled with the game of basketball and an array of other programmatic elements, will prove to be highly potent in the lives of all participants. Our Theory of Change and Measurement & Evaluation capabilities is combined with RVA League’s proven ideals and culture.

Although we are confident that a measurable difference in attitude and some Social and Emotional Learning attribute acquisition can be made after a 100+ hour program immersion in the initial cohort, we fully believe that lasting outcomes and impact will require a longer-lasting intervention and an enduring relationship with our organization.​


Jaryn Garner

2021 HoopHers Spring and Evening Clinic and 2020 MSPP Coach-Mentor

Jaryn Garner attended undergrad at the University of Virginia before she transferred to Saint Joseph’s University, where she studied Kinesiology. At SJU, Jaryn received a full scholarship to play basketball. She spent time volunteering as an AAU coach, Special Olympics coach, and a camp counselor. She also worked at the Boys & Girls Club in Virginia, which was a very rewarding experience for her. Recently, she received her Masters in Health Administration from Saint Joseph’s University.

Darren White-Green

2020 Leadership Development Academy Member, MSPP Coach-Mentor