From left, Jason Forde ’01, Terrance Williams ’02, Andre Charles ’06, Justin Weir ’02 work with an afterschool program devoted to developing student athletes academically, socially and athletically.
Five years ago, Terrance “Munch” Williams ’02 began coaching a group of 12-year-old boys, playing basketball in the gym of a New York City recreation center. Now, that same group of boys is ranked first in the country, champions of the 16u Invitational Division at the Las Vegas Fab 48 tournament.
The boys are members of Team SCAN, an afterschool program devoted to developing student athletes academically, socially and athletically in the South Bronx and East Harlem areas. Under the management and coaching of Justin Weir ’02, Williams, Andre Charles ’06 and Jason Forde ’01 work with Team SCAN to provide a variety of extracurricular programming for a wide age range of kids. Winning championships is only one part of the plan.
Williams originally created the team while working for the Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network (SCAN) as Center Director of the Mulally Recreation Center. He came across a group of talented 11- and 12-year-olds, willing to learn how to properly play basketball. When he brought the kids to compete in the Hoops On the River Youth Basketball Tournament in 2008, Williams bumped into Weir and Forde, who were running the competition.
Afterwards, Williams invited the two men to observe his team’s practices, and he offered them an opportunity to get involved. “We were all looking for a way to get back,” says Forde, who played intramural basketball with Williams at Wesleyan. “We all love the sport of basketball, playing together and watching basketball.”
Forde and Weir joined Williams in coaching the kids to compete in more tournaments— not only locally, but also in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competitions “outside of the New York area, to give them an idea of how life is outside the city.”
The new coaching team also decided that Team SCAN should serve a greater educational purpose as well: With programming for both middle and high school-level boys, Team SCAN aims to “hold them accountable for being a responsible student as well as a responsible citizen, and stay out of trouble.” They hope to help the kids get admitted and transition into private or boarding schools and to prepare them academically, as well as socially, for college and life.
“We track their grades, get their report cards, and if there are any issues we have an open line of communication between not only the kids but with their advisors,” Forde says. Team SCAN requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 from each kid. Not only is that important in school placement, but it also meets the NCAA requirements for college athletes. The program provides a wide array of academic supports services to accomplish this goal, from tutoring to SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) and SAT prep classes. (more…)