Basketball Club Sets Standard for All Teams

By Jason Goorman

Local Sports Journal

“Just Do It Again Hoops” (JDIA) located in Grand Rapids Michigan, is a basketball club that is doing more than just playing the game.

JDIA has played the American Youth Basketball Tournament for the last four years and has been successful on and off court

Last summer (2012), the 8th grade and the 6th grade teams won the national championships at Fort Wayne and celebrated all the way home.

Recently during Memorial Day weekend, the 9th grade boys finished as runner-up at the Michigan May Madness tournament.

JDIA is doing more than just winning games. It has made it a mission to provide mentoring, opportunity and hope to all who participate with the club. It looks at the game of basketball as a way to teach the young men about life and provide tools for them to be successful in their lives. It helps to develop boys by building character, instilling discipline and giving them hope for the future. As Lonnie Harley, the coach and director of the club states, “We did not want to be just another basketball organization. We want to focus on the family.”

As the club states as its’ creed, we “teach the importance of education, team work, personal integrity, and commitment.” It uses “the family to grow champions.”

 

JDIA reaches out to Zimbabwe

The club is exposing the boys to giving back to their community and the communities at large. JDIA has partnered with Clubhouse International (www.clubhouseaf.org) to help a small academy in Zimbabwe, Africa. This partnership is geared to expose the boys to other cultures and help them see that they can make a difference with those who are not as fortunate as they are. Many of the families of JDIA struggle to afford to play basketball and travel. However, they are more than happy to give to assist the boys and girls in Zimbabwe.

“We are holding a shoe drive to gather gently used athletic shoes to send to approximately a dozen boys and girls associated with Clubhouse International. We are collecting the shoes and are going to find the best of the best in the designated sizes to send them”, states Rob Arnoys, a parent for the club. Additionally, the boys have been mentored by a local businessman on this process; how to ship the shoes, setting up a shoe drive, marketing the drive, creating a budget to execute the drive, etc. As an extra, the boys are designing a tee shirt that symbolizes the partnership between the two groups.

“Our plan is to have shirts for both the players and the Clubhouse kids and potentially sell some of the tee shirts to raise money for the cause”, said Arnoys.

In addition, the group plans to “involve the boys in other community outreach volunteering activities throughout the year. We plan to hold a food drive and other activities”, said Arnoys.

The Clubhouse International has been able to pay for 11 academic scholarship recipients in Zimbabwe. These kids have been kept in school for one full year based on these gifts. The scholarships go for tuition, helping the kids to grow academically and emotionally to use this information.

 

JDIA and AYBT

“We love AYBT for so many reasons” said Arnoys. “We love the competition, we do not have to travel so far and the kids get to find new friendships with players from other teams. The organization of AYBT has been great and we get good match ups for our tournaments.”

Arnoys also said that the AYBT Nationals is a highlight for their team which often is a mini vacation for the families. The parents feel that the Fort Wayne experience has been a great way for them to develop friendships and many close bonds have been developed.

Kids from the club are able to get out of their communities which had not happened until they began to play basketball with the JDIA. Arnoys cited the example of one boy who never went to a Ponderosa in his young life but was able with the team. When the buffet-style restaurant was described to the boy, but he did not know what a buffet was. JDIA through AYBT is doing a lot of good things in helping kids to become acclimated in life.  What a great combination: a club, an organization like AYBT, and basketball.

 

Clubhouse International – www.clubhouseaf.org

JDIA Hoops – http://www.jdiahoops.org/

Contact info: Rob Arnoys  – cell phone: 616 292-1562

Jodi Harley – cell phone: 616 307-0119

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