Hoops For Higher Learning
Promoting Higher Education Through the Game of Basketball
North Carolina arguably has the greatest rivalry in sports with the Duke v. UNC basketball game. North Carolina is known as the “Hoop State”. With notable Alumni in Michael Jordan, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, John Wall, and many more. It is fair to say that N.C. is in love with the game of basketball.
Tiana Edwards, WSSU alumna, Chancellor Scholar, Most 3-Pointers Made in the history of WSSU, Senior Class President, Magna Cum Laude, 21.
Aaron Oates 21,
Rocky Mount, NC
Current student of Winston-Salem State University.Renaissance Male Minority Mentor. Founder of lifestyle brand Pressure Incorporated. Aaron is an avid advocate in mental health awareness in young adults and teens.
Jerel Smith 22,
Lexington, North Carolina
Recent graduate of Winston Salem State University with a degree in Mass Communications Speech minor. Former Mister Winston Salem State University. Presided on the Lexington City Youth Council. 4 year camp councilor at Kiwanis Kiddie Kamp. Jerel believes that It is important that his generation do all in which they can to advance not only themselves but future generations, to be well rounded citizens
This photo represents the importance of finding an education.
The map of area codes in the state of North Carolina. There is a rich history in each area code that holds a sense of pride for the individuals in them.
Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Twitter: @TianaEdwards_ , @AaronJOates, @Official_Rel
Instagram: @TianaEdwards_ , @AaronJoates, @Official_Rel
April 27th, 2018
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Idea (hoping to get started in the future)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
We stand for education, basketball (fellowship), and serving others.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
The problem we are trying to solve is the lack of college enrollment education and opportunity for lower income students in the state of North Carolina.
I have been given the opportunity to talk to fellow college classmates and prospective high school students all across the state of North Carolina. Their number one reason for them second- guessing enrolling at a collegiate institution is lack of awareness, support, or financial resources.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Statewide Tournament: We plan to host a statewide basketball tournament with teams that represent each area code. Each team will travel to each area code to play until they are eliminated. This is a great way to touch each community, because it would yield great attendance and participation. The games would be held on weekends over the span of 2 months.
Supplementing College Awareness: In the lobby of games, we plan to have college admission tables where parents and students can ask questions and even apply. We would pass out easy-to-read pamphlets that break down subjects like financial aid, loans, the benefits of a college education, touring, and much more. During halftime of games we would have myth-busters about college, motivational speakers, scholarship raffles, or testimonials about positive college experiences.
We would also host a essay writing contest in each area code. Each team will adopt an essay from their respective area code and they will opt to play for that student to win. The area code team that wins will ultimately win the student their scholarship.
The overall goal is to give a taste of the college experience to prospective students.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
The summer before Jason’s senior year, he didn't think college. His family told him they couldn’t afford it. He figured he’d just get a job after graduation. Jason decided to go to the big game. The Charlotte (704) vs. Raleigh (919) game is today. When he pays to get in he is given a pamphlet that reads “No money? No Problem, College is Still an Option”. While waiting on his friends, he flips through the pamphlet and puts it in his pocket to show his parents later. He stops at a few admissions tables before entering. Jason walks into a college band playing and cheerleaders . At halftime, a current college student speaks at halftime and gives a testimony on all the benefits they've received from college. Jason goes home and shows his family the pamphlet and they do research on the info given to him. Jason applied and was later granted acceptance in to Winston- Salem State University.
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
The difference in our project compared to other programs is our approach on attracting participants and the magnitude of the project. Instead of one single community Hoops for Higher Learning crosses into other cities across the state. Our approach to college readiness during the summer at an interactive event, versus a lecture during the school year. Beyond promoting higher education, Hoops for Higher Learning has the potential to be a huge annual community outreach program and promote statewide networking. In essence, it has the ability to kill multiple birds with one stone.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
We plan to see our impact by surveys, testimonial submission, on site video interviews, and general word of mouth.
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
To take our project to the next level, we plan to contact major NBA players from each area and seek their support on the project. We also plan to contact colleges from each area code to see if we can host the games on their campus along with college tours. To capitalize on our resources, we will open internship opportunities for college students in marketing, finances, student athletic training, and much more. We are currently finding available spaces in each area code to host these games and building reliable teams in each area to build and support the project.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
Support team in each area code: We will need a squad in each area code to carry out the duties necessary to form continuity.
A website: We need a website that will have the purpose, schedule, college resources, live stream footage, and pictures of the tournament.
Gym Space: 5 gyms (preferably high schools) will be needed in order to host games.
Basketball teams: 5 basketball teams (one from each area code.)
Funding: For referees, facilities, gatorade for players, athletic trainer, basketballs, jerseys, team travel, branding posters, DJ.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.
We have already began partnering with other changemakers. We have reached out to fellow colleagues in specific majors who are capable of handling a task at hand. I.e Sports management majors for facilities management and tournament framework, or business and marketing majors for advertising, sales, and promotion. Next, we will reach out to admissions offices statewide for their support. The implementation of internships into this project is another way of us reaching out to other changemakers, student who are passionate about giving back will be given the opportunity to give back while honing their skills. We realize that this is a huge project and outsourcing for help with people with the similar vision but different skill set is a necessity.
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
How did you hear about this challenge?
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?