School holidays give youth a chance to sleep in and enjoy the day off. These are also days when parents worry about their child’s safety. However, Raushanah Shamsid-Deen Hargrove found a solution where youth can be productive and stay active.
Hargrove is the founder and CEO of Young Educated Athletes, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to strive to build the character of, expand the opportunities for, and inspire Philadelphia and surrounding area children to teach their full potential. On Presidents’ Day, Young Educated Athletes presented their Annual “No School” Basketball Skills and Drills Clinic in honor of Black History Month.
The mission of Young Educated Athletes is to employ structured recreational and educational programs, community programs, and family oriented events and outings. Hargrove, who launched Y.E.A. in 2014, said that she enjoys working with youth and being a female figure giving back to her community. “It feels good to give back to people and for them to have someone to look up to as a mentor,” said Hargrove, a wife and mother of three children.
Hargrove stated that she wanted basketball to be an outlet, but wants education to be first (Educated Athlete). During the skills and drills clinic held on President’s Day, students worked on the fundamentals of basketball and got a hands-on presentation on the social, historical, and musical influences of Hip-Hop Jazz Musicology presented by the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP).
Hargrove was born and raised in West Philadelphia and attended Parkway Gamma High School. She earned a BA in Sociology-Minor in Criminology from Millersville University and a Masters’ in Business Administration from the University Of Phoenix. The 4th of 8 children, Hargrove said that growing up, she admired her mother’s strength in the home, while watching her father, Bro. Leon Shamsid-Deen, mentor/coach the youth. “I would always see him doing something with the youth, whether it was riding them to their basketball games,” or lecturing them she said. As a child, Hargrove sat on the bench watching her father coach game after game; including her cousin Jabril Trawick Georgetown University Basketball Alumni.
More than skills and drills
Today, Y.E.A. services an average of 75 youth once a month. Hargrove is assisted by her father, Bro Leon, who serves as the Athletic Director, and Coach Jazz Williams who serves as Director of Operations. In addition to skills and drills clinics, Y.E.A. host an Annual Back to School Drive in the summer and an Annual Free Community Brunch during the winter holidays.
Guest speakers have included, a few Philly natives starting with; Jerome “Pooh” Allen (NBA Assistant Coach for the Boston Celtics) Lynn Greer II (Temple Hall of Famer 2016), Tasheed Carr (Player Developer/ Mentor), and Nehemiah Davis (social entrepreneur and philanthropist).
A caring community
Myles Carter, a student, said that Y.EA. is a good program. “You can tell they really care about the kids and their education, not just their basketball aspect,” said Carter, a senior at Academy at Palumbo who has been with the program for two years.
Khalif Washington, a 10th grader at Overbrook H.S. said that he also loved the program. “They’re like family,” he said. “They help me develop my skills, being better.
Young Educated Athletes’ clinics are held once a month at West Catholic Preparatory High School. Hargrove would like to have Y.E.A. centralized in one building to accommodate more youth and possibly more programs emphasizing on the importance of academic excellence, life skills, and athletic opportunities for the youth in Philadelphia County and surrounding areas.
Raushanah believes that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” ( quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). Her motto to the youth is to Work Hard and to Dream Big if you believe it you can achieve it!
For more information about programs held by Young Educated Athletes, go to Young Educated Athletes.