When the 3 Point Foundation started in March 2012, co-founders Andrew Mirken and Boston Celtics attorney Neil Jacobs had a vision of improving the lives of Boston’s youth through positive reinforcement in the classroom and on the basketball court.
Now, 18 months and more than 100 kids later, Mirken says he’s thrilled with the influence the program has had. But for him and his hard-working staff, the journey has only just begun.
“We’re really trying to influence these kids in an academic way, along with helping them out on the court,” Mirken said. “I mean, everything you do on the basketball court translates to how you carry yourself in life, and we’re really trying to preach that to the kids.”
The 3 Point Foundation works specifically with fifth- and sixth-grade boys, and uses the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury. Its partners include Olympia Sports and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation.
Before running drills on the court, the boys are mentored in mathematics, literacy, and word problems.
During the school year, Mirken and his fellow employees hold these skill-building programs on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings, working with 26 kids, most of whom are BPS-rooted. During the summer, Mirken says, they expect more than 100 participants in their four-week program to be held in Newton.
“Our different programs fall under what we call 'C.A.B Academy,' ” he said. “C.A.B comes from the three initiatives we stress. They stand for character, academics, and basketball."
The instructors include Kyle Casey, who played for Harvard, Alece Mark, who plays for Northeastern, and Anthony Gurley, who played for UMass-Amherst.
Asked why he partnered with the 3 Point Foundation, director of the Reggie Lewis Center Keith McDermott, said it was a no-brainer.
“They create great opportunities for the kids,” he said.
“Andrew and Neil came to us in 2012 and immediately seemed very serious about how they were going to positively influence the community. And they’re doing just that. So someday these boys they’re working with will hopefully go out and flourish, but also go on to positively influence the lives of others. So, it was actually pretty easy to partner with them because of what they do.”
And, as McDermott said, it’s not only basketball and homework that the boys tackle. They’ve also participated in food giveaways among other volunteer events.
“Last year we fed 300 people in Dudley,” Mirken said. “This year we’re giving 500 bagged lunches out on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The kids come in with their families and we make sandwiches to donate. They also write notes on the bags, so it’s a really cool experience.”
Mirken also said they volunteered at the Franklin Park Zoo, where the kids helped grow vegetables to feed the animals.
Whether these young BPS students go on to play for the Celtics or someday return to the Reggie Lewis Center to mentor a new generation, there’s no question that Mirken, Jacobs, and the rest of the 3 Point Foundation are making an impact on Boston.
And McDermott couldn’t be happier with what he’s witnessing.
“When you see a guy as prominent as Neil Jacobs sitting in the classroom with the kids on a Saturday, helping with math or whatnot, you just witness genuine commitment,” McDermott said.
“You see a real-life real-person commitment that means so much more than just putting money behind a cause. It’s really quite amazing what’s going on here.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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