The Legacy Foundation: Kids, Sports and Life Skills

By at September 14, 2017 | 2:10 pm | Print

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October marks the first anniversary for the New Britain Legacies Youth Development and Basketball Program. Founded by Deivone Tanksley of New Britain, the organization runs after school youth and adult basketball leagues along with coaching sessions in the gym at St. Matthews Lutheran Church on Franklin Square. But the design of the unique program seeks to do much more than simply play basketball.

According to Tanksley, “I wanted to give back to New Britain by providing something for the kids to do that was affordable for everyone. There really was not much to do. But this is not just about basketball. We not only teach the kids skills of basketball, but teach the kids life skills and lessons. And, we can actually see the kids elevate and grow.”

They do this by matching up the adult league players with the youth. It teaches life skills such as unity and responsibility, teamwork, a feeling of belonging, and a desire for learning.

Devione and Jaci Tanksley began the non-profit (501c3) foundation with their own money from their record company, DMTS. Currently they have approximately 40 elementary school participants, 60 of middle school age and another 60 of high school age. There are 120 adults involved, most in their 20’s and early 30’s.

It is the program’s interactions between the adults and the kids that makes the program special.

“These adults are role models,” Tanksley said. “The fun part for me personally is seeing the kids. When I was a little kid and we were running around in the projects, it was fun when I had that one guy who would come to the projects and buy us a basketball and teach us certain moves. Knowing that he cared about us, it just made me want to keep doing it. Now when we see these kids here and we have the gym open, and they are coming up to us and saying ‘thank you’ for this – that right there is what’s fun. I enjoy it. It’s amazing to see that you are helping not only just one kid, but hundreds of kids. I know that little things like that go a long way.”

During the season, the program runs Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday after school and on Saturdays. Space is available for more participants. Adult players and parents interested for their children can make arrangements by calling Tanksley at 860-348-7201. Fees for the program are kept low thanks to many sponsors; $35 per youth for the entire season and either $50 per adult or $650 for an adult team.

While primarily composed of New Britain residents, the program is also open to participants from surrounding towns.

Where does Tanksley’s enthusiasm and passion come from? He claims that besides a real love for the game of basketball, he inherited his concern for social issues and youth from his grandfather. His wife, Jaci Tanksley, quickly added, “It’s a good gene.”

“It’s been a long time since everyone in New Britain actually decided that we as a people can come together, no matter the race, the color or size, and make something special happen,” Tanksley continued.

Now he sees it happening. “Whatever the problem is, instead of always just talking about the problem, I always go straight for the solution.”

Their league championship games are scheduled for Sunday, September 10th.

.News Feature

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