Childhood obesity is a significant and serious issue for families in our nation, and Project C.H.O.P. is bringing recognition to non-profit organizations around the country that are working in their communities to foster healthy lifestyles for youth and families. We shared with them how we got started, more about our programs, and some of the challenges we face as a non-profit working to improve the lives of youth in our community.
Interview with Project C.H.O.P.
How did your organization get started?
In 2009 a group of boys asked me to coach their seventh grade basketball team. I said yes, but with one condition: No road trips to Long Island or New Jersey. Why that condition? I knew that the toughest competition was only blocks away in all directions in Manhattan, and that these boys might not have a winning record, but they would have opportunities to work hard and learn. The boys and their parents were IN and the first boys’ team quickly learned more than just basketball moves – they learned how to hang tough and earn it, which is the mantra all the teams at Mo’ Motion work by on and off the court.
Mo’ Motion has since grown from that one team of seventh graders in 2009 to serving 1000 youth grades K-12 in the community each year through our program and our league, The Gotham Basketball Association. The culture of Mo’ Motion includes strong systems of training rooted in fundamentals, proper development and a focus on whole-body health. Our exceptional coaches include accomplished former high school, college, and pro players. Some of our youth players go on to be high school JV and varsity captains all the way up to playing at the college level.
In addition, the Gotham Basketball Association (GBA) was born out of a need I saw in the area for an active, inclusive network for area teams to participate in games without extensive and often cost-prohibitive travel requirements.
What is the main mission of your organization?
Mo’ Motion promotes an inclusive environment while raising funds to keep opportunities local for parents, coaches, and players, regardless of their playing levels. We work with GBA to renovate gyms, community centers, and parks, as well as sponsor teams in need of financial and coaching support. We use our proceeds from birthday party hosting and corporate events to help support our community support initiatives.
Together Mo’ Motion and GBA serve youth in New York City. Mo’ Motion strives to educate youth about sports and fitness while promoting amateur sports in the community. Our philosophy is EARN IT. This means we not only ask students to give 100%, but we provide them with strategies for doing this, focusing on charting progress and personal growth over wins and losses.
Our players in grades K-12, teams, and staff members have equal opportunities. In addition, we are building our IMPACT Program, with strategic plans to include more youth in a cross-section of sports. Concurrently, we are expanding our after-school programming into public schools that are in need of providing team sports and fitness opportunities to under-resourced girls ages 8-11 years old, significantly improving their chances of playing sports and remaining physically active through middle and high school.
We are year-round, and we offer weeknight only, weekend only, and a mix, which is comparable to a club team membership pass. We also host birthday parties and we do small group training, corporate events, and public speaking.
What particular challenges do you encounter in your community?
Our organization faces several challenges. The first is that we are a non-profit competing in a world of for-profit entities. We also face the real challenge of providing what we know kids need – quality, inclusive, sports training that gets to the heart of physical fitness and skills-based learning, instead of only giving court time to the perceived “best” athletes or to the kids whose parents can afford the best.
Keep reading more at the Project C.H.O.P. site!