Giving back to the community
by Daniel Messinger
As they head into a highly anticipated season ranked number one in the country, the Sierra Canyon Boys’ Varsity Team has shown that they are super-talented athletes – and so much more. They are also inspirational, enthusiastic mentors to children in Los Angeles. As President of the non-profit Hoops with Heart, I know this because the Sierra Canyon Boys Varsity basketball team members and coaches have been the cornerstone of what makes Hoops with Heart a successful non-profit in the LA community.
The principal of Sara Coughlin Elementary School in Pacoima expressed her appreciation, to Hoops with Heart, saying, “Our students, teachers and community are truly grateful to these young people for their outstanding commitment to the students of Pacoima” and for the “indelible impact [they] have made on [the] students.”
Hoops with Heart is a youth-run non-profit that fundraises and donates sports equipment to under-funded after school programs. Our organization is unique in that along with donating sports equipment, we bring gifted scholar-athletes to those places where we donate, to mentor the children, running basketball drills and sharing the love of sports with elementary school children. The younger childrens’ faces light up as they enjoy their interactions with the high school role models who bring their “A” game to these mentoring events. They engage the kids in fun, exciting activities, encouraging them with lots of high-fives, sharing smiles and life-lessons. “They enjoyed the team work, motivation, and of course all the equipment! Every day, they come to the after-school program excited to work and play and explore what new equipment we can use for the day!,” says the after-school program director at Sara Coughlin.
None have been more supportive than Sierra Canyon High School’s Boys Varsity Head Basketball Coach, Ty Nichols, setting aside time in the team’s busy schedule to give back to the community. They enjoy motivating the younger kids, inspiring them to enjoy being physically active and to have a positive outlook on life. The teen mentors teach the kids to work hard and to never give up on their dreams.
Sierra Canyon basketball player and Hoops with Heart mentor Adam Seiko explains, “We’re here to inspire the kids and the only way to do that is encourage them to be better than they think they can. I enjoy seeing how happy the kids are every time we hang out with them. It’s like their whole world has changed and they become the happiest kids in the world. I love seeing that.”