On Saturday, January 30th the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation was excited to hold an Open Event called Ball Beyond Basketball Clinic. Normally our Open Events are the result of Henderson High School students approaching the Foundation with an idea for an event that involves something that they are really passionate about. However, this event was very special because the originator was not a HHS student, but a Chester student!
Cyncere Miller, a Chester Community Charter School 6th grader approached us with the idea of creating an event at his school where students could develop their basketball skills and learn more of the rules of the game. He also envisioned adding in the opportunity for the kids to break up into teams with coaches and play games against each other.
The Foundation brought together his school’s Social Worker, Susanne Cianfaro as well as Friend of the Foundation and Ball Beyond President and CEO, Aaron Johnson. Susanne, Aaron and Karen Hicks met Cyncere in a conference room at his school and listened to Cyncere’s dream. Cyncere dreams big, and helping him turn one of his dreams into a reality was perhaps the best part of the Ball Beyond Basketball Clinic.
With Cyncere at the helm, the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation partnered Ball Beyond and six Henderson High School basketball players to provide a fun event for almost 50 Chester children. The students invited to participate were all CCCS kids who have made a significant effort this school year to prioritize attendance, cooperating with the school’s effort to dramatically reduce truancy. What a reward the event turned out to be!
After arriving and getting a clinic t-shirt the students started with a fun warm up and realized that Aaron doesn’t play around! His warm-ups are heart rate elevating! They also learned basic basketball skills and techniques and practiced drills such as passing, moving without the ball, defending and shooting while rotating through these different stations.
By the time the pizza arrived, the kids were starved! They had been working hard all morning and needed some replenishment. During their lunch break we raffled off 7 basketballs. What fun!
With food in their bellies, the kids were divided into four teams. Each team had an adult coach and a high school player as an assistant. The Chester kids really enjoyed the HHS players and appreciated them being there and the camaraderie they felt with them. There were so many laughs and smiles and lots of hugs between the Chester kids and the Henderson basketball players. The event ended with full-paced basketball games with the parents of the Chester children cheering them on from the bleachers. We had a great turn out and the kids really played hard in front of the rowdy crowd.
At the end of the event each student received a packet of 76ers tickets, generously donated by the Philadelphia 76ers, to enjoy with their family for their game February 6th against the Brooklyn Nets. GO SIXERS!
Aaron Johnson, Ball Beyond
Henderson High School Boys Basketball
Chester Community Charter School
Susanne Cianfaro, CCCS Social Worker
Christ Community Church