The Nashville Burners basketball team (the “Burners”) has been operating for seven years under the leadership and coaching of William S. Cummings and William S. Cummings, Jr. The Burners have competed in tournaments under the auspices of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the Youth Basketball Organization of America (YBOA), and Youth Incorporated (YI) among others.
The organization currently has four teams consisting of players in the 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old, and 15 year old bracket in 2015. The youth players have come from the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County (Tennessee) area, as well as from adjacent counties in Middle Tennessee.
In Tennessee, gang presence has been on the rise since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when gangs first made a concerted push into the state. Since 2011, police have identified at least 5,000 gang members in Davidson County, and gang-related crimes have increased by 25%. Meanwhile, cities with 50,000 or fewer inhabitants have seen gang-related crimes triple in frequency nationally since 2005.
At a time when obesity rates are skyrocketing and young people are increasingly tied to their computers and televisions, supporting physical education and sports programs in schools is one of the best ways communities can encourage physical activity and fitness among youth. These programs help young people stay fit, while providing opportunities for leadership, relationship-building, conflict resolution, and the development of other interpersonal skills.
Parents dropping their kids off at school may not realize their child sits next to a young person in the foster care system. Students may not realize their classmate is not going home to his or her own parents, but to a group home or foster care placement. No sign on this child would alert anyone that he or she has likely suffered abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
All Tennessee families should have access to high quality, developmentally appropriate child care and after-school programming for their children, regardless of income level. In order to even out the playing field for all children in Middle Tennessee, support for local nonprofit childcare centers and afterschool programs is as vital as ever. By providing educational opportunities and enriching activities for these youths, after-school programs and centers can offer alternatives to potentially less productive and sometimes harmful activities in which youth may be tempted to participate when left to their own supervision.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215