When you’re struggling, it’s easy to feel like you’re all alone, and that no one understands what you’re going through. It can even be tough to hold on to hope for a better life. And that’s why we’re so excited about our partnership with the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester and an inspiring recent visit from a very special athlete.
The Youth Shelter is a live-in rehabilitation program for young men in Westchester who have been arrested and are working hard to overcome their circumstances and become contributing members of the community. Backyard Sports Cares provides a credit PE class for students earning a high school equivalency diploma as well as recreational sports programming. So, when we had the opportunity to host MLB legend Doc Gooden at our 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament, we were thrilled when he graciously agreed to visit the Youth Shelter the night before. He ate dinner with the boys, told his story, and answered their questions. It was an experience they won’t soon forget.
The boys, who are always conscious of how to maintain their progress once they’re released from the shelter, were most interested in how Doc avoids falling back into addiction and continues to stay focused on his second chance and new goals. Of course, they also asked a lot of questions about the life of a professional athlete and were very interested to learn about the challenges of such a fast-paced, pressure-filled career. Doc was incredibly open and honest, sharing his struggles and tactics for overcoming them.
Intrigued that Doc Gooden grew up in the same environment as most of them, Youth Shelter residents came away reminded that “you can change your life no matter the circumstance” and “that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or who you are… whatever you want to do, you can, as long as you put your mind to it.”