Helping Hoops began as a simple idea in late 2009. The idea was to bring basketball to kids who don’t enjoy the same opportunities afforded to most of us and use the sport to instill strong values and achieve social outcomes.
Simple things, like creating an environment where kids feel they belong, teaching goal settings, inspiring future leaders, making kids feel good about themselves and embrace the “never give up” attitude that IS Helping Hoops…. we knew what we wanted to do, but still didn’t quite know how. We did know that Helping Hoops wasn’t about making teams, winning trophies, or creating the next Michael Jordan, but it was about using basketball in a way that helps kids off the court.
Skip forward to October 2010. We had our first program, a program for kids with special needs based in Footscray, locked in. We had our first coach, Coach Mike, all set to go, and from these humble beginnings we began a journey that has taken us further than we ever hoped or expected. Our plan has always been start small and grow big, and Helping Hoops quickly shifted from a passion project to a legitimate charity with boundless room for growth.
Since that first weekly session, we have added other programs and welcomed hundred more kids. Multicultural, public housing, disability, all dotted across metropolitan Melbourne. We have not only made Coach Mike a whole lot busier, but have taken on another coach in Coach Omar. We have refined our programs and exactly what we do, what we hope to achieve, and how we go about doing it, and are still learning and evolving in this regard.
We have not only expanded our work on the court to reach over 1,000 kids through 300-plus free weekly sessions every year, but have also taken giant leaps off the court too. The 24 Hour Charity Shootout (attended by no less than NBA All Star MVP Kyrie Irving) and other fundraising and community-building events have seen Helping Hoops become widely renown and respected as an organisation promising big and delivering bigger.
Now, in 2014, we sit at 7 weekly programs, all run at zero-cost to participants and their families. We have fantastic partnerships with organisations, such as the Melbourne Tigers. We have amazing Ambassadors that are proud to be part of the Helping Hoops family and who represent the work ethic and integrity we strive to teach our kids. And most importantly, we have amazing people working tirelessly behind the scenes making it all possible.
Helping Hoops takes the sport of basketball and uses it as a vehicle for connecting kids, who need a little help, with fantastic role models and coaches who can put them on the right path. While there are still kids in need, people who are able to help them, and individuals and organisations who want to support this concept, Helping Hoops will always be relevant, and we look forward to seeing just how far we can take the charity.
Never give up.