Perfect start for the Stand Tall All Stars
The Stand Tall All Stars compete in Sydney Schools Shootout
Culturally diverse youth from Greenacre, Greystanes, Yagoona, Villawood and Blacktown were given a slam-dunk chance of a lifetime last week when they competed in Charity Bounce’s All Stars team at the Sydney Schools Shootout.
Fielded from Charity Bounce’s 2016 Stand Tall outreach programs in Blacktown, Redfern and Auburn, the team of boys aged 14-16, was accepted especially by Sydney Schools Shootout organiser Phil Webster, to compete against some of New South Wales’ best school basketball teams.
The team went on an undefeated run to win all four games in their pool, before being knocked out based on a count back on percentages.
“We were thrilled to have the Charity Bounce All Stars join us at the Sydney Schools Shootout this year. We truly believe in the cause that Charity Bounce promotes and wanted to give the youth they help an opportunity to compete in a great tournament, while continuing to feed their love of basketball,” said Phil Webster, Tournament Director, Sydney Schools Shootout.
The Charity Bounce All Stars team included boys from a number of culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds including Aboriginal, Lebanese, Sudanese, Indian, Maltese and Nigerian.
All team members were selected due to the basketball talent they displayed at previous Stand Tall programs, however Charity Bounce Program Partnerships Manager, Sandra Gugger, said the emphasis remained firmly on fun, education and inclusiveness.
“When I began working with Charity Bounce, it was a real dream to bring together a team of wonderfully diverse youth and provide them with opportunities they might otherwise not have access to,” explained Ms Gugger.
“This dream stemmed partly from my previous work with the Sydney Kings, where I travelled with Kings’ players to more than 130 schools and communities – working with over 18,000 children – and getting to see first-hand how children can be affected positively by basketball. When joining Charity Bounce, I saw the same potential for positive change. Many of the participating youth see basketball as almost a daily need – a lifeline in a sense – that gives them hope, direction and grounding in their lives.”
“The Sydney Schools Shootout tied in beautifully to this, delivering a fun yet challenging tournament to bring the youth together as a team. It also provided a great impetus to engage the team with a coaching network to help not only foster their talent, but also get them get through some of the day-to-day challenges they may be facing,” Ms Gugger added.
Speaking about his experience, Blacktown Charity Bounce All Star, Yuvan, said: “This was the best tournament I have been in and I am really going to miss the whole team. When we all put our hands together for the last time and said ‘Bounce!’, I was really sad because I didn’t want it to end.”
Following the Sydney Schools Shootout, the Charity Bounce All Stars were taken out to celebrate at the Sydney Kings’ first game of the season against the Brisbane Bullets.
The Charity Bounce All Stars initiative for the Sydney Schools Shootout was headed up by Sandra Gugger and former NBL and NBA executive Bret Mactavish, who acted as Director of the team. The team was trained by Head Coach and former NBL Rookie of the Year Eban Hyams, who has recently returned from working with NBA outreach programs in India and may play for the Indian National Team later this year – and Dwayne McClain II, son of former NBA and NBL star Dwayne McClain.
Charity Bounce’s Stand Tall program aims to give indigenous and culturally diverse young people positive life messages, emphasising the importance of school attendance, education, job pathways, health and well-being.
Since launching in June 2016, Charity Bounce has welcomed more than 1500 participants across all of its programs, with 13 young people starting jobs with new corporate employment partners, and more than 70 participants in its Hoop Dreams employment programs, as well as delivering Stand Tall and Eat Strong, Play Strong projects with the Nyewente Aboriginal community in Alice Springs.
Charity Bounce has also attracted high-profile ambassadors in celebrity chef Sean Connolly, the Sydney Kings, ex NBL player and renowned coach Cal Bruton, and Sydney Kings basketball legend Steve Carfino.
Charity Bounce is a not for profit organisation that exists to inspire positive change to overcome disadvantage for individuals and communities. With a focus on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders and Culturally Diverse communities, including newly arrived refugees we aim to move people toward a more positive future through the development of sports, the arts, health, education and employment focused social programs. The programs are delivered in partnership with professional athletes to motivate change and inspire.