Thirty youth from various Children’s Aid programs participated in the Elite Basketball Event at the Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem last Wednesday. This is the 10th year for the basketball showcase and the second it was hosted by the Children’s Aid POWER (Providing Opportunities, Wellness, Education, and Resources) Program. For the first time, three scholarships were awarded to college-bound seniors during the event.
“I grew up here, starting at age 7,” said Milbank alum and Children’s Aid donor Tarik McDermott, who provided the scholarships. “This was a place for me to be productive and stay off the streets. It was a safe haven.”
POWER seeks to leave a lasting impact on adolescents by equipping them with the skills to thrive and lead healthy lives. It hosts the annual Elite Basketball Event to promote basketball as a positive alternative and prevention tool for adolescents in our community while recognizing our young people for academic excellence, community service, and leadership. Scholarship recipients included Ilda Mercado, Elyjah Marrero, and Anahi Cacerres.
“We’re providing a safe space where these kids can be themselves and not end up in jail, not gripped by substance abuse, and not participating in risky behavior,” explained program manager Asari Offiong. “In POWER youth can be individuals, having fun doing the things they like to do.”