Hoops Creating Hope

tl_files/article-images/Crossover India Introduction Cover.jpgThe philosophy and research behind Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy. Click here.

What We Do

Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy is the first non-profit 501(c)3 international education program in India to leverage athletic values and skill as a means to develop academic opportunities for Indian students. The main objective of Crossover Basketball is to use basketball as a vehicle of change in communities in India by combining the ideas of academics and sport - imparting the values of leadership, character, teamwork, and communication with the goal of inspiring and preparing those students to continue in their educational pursuits through the university level. There is NO COST for students attending Crossover.

At Crossover, we asked ourselves: how can we change the way the Indian students approach the current education system? Our solution uses the leveraging of the concept of “team” to engage students on both an individual and communal level, isolate the motivations and ideals of good sportsmanship, and give students tools to carry with them from the court into the classroom.

Crossover is committed to the idea that India is uniquely different than where basketball has been previously expanded, due in large part to the cultural priority of education far outweighing athletics. It is with this potential for academic as well as athletic success for children that Crossover finds its connection. The key to integrating sport within the community will be its emphasis on the provision for educational prospects. Crossover participants will not only be educated in a non-biased way as to opportunities that currently exist and how to achieve those goals, but will also be supported in their endeavors inside and outside of India once they graduate the program. We are not just preparing athletes and helping to increase education rates, we are helping prepare future leaders for Indian communities.

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We have gone from an initial volunteer faculty of three members to last year over 20 volunteers traveling to India. Our volunteer faculty members help conduct seven various sessions that the students will rotate between. They include individual, team, and defensive drills along with classroom sessions on the Pyramid of Success, nutrition, home conditioning, and yoga. All of these are tied together through the over-arching themes of leadership, character, teamwork, and communication in helping students become empowered to self-advocate and be enthusiastic about the path of continuing in education. We continue to be an organization with no paid employees.

The success we have had is shown in both piloting our 'Hoops Creating Hope' program with 45 students in Chennai (2012) and this past summer (July 2013), when we worked with nearly 250 students, (2/3 of them being girls) and partnered with American International School of Chennai to run a phenomenal program. In 2014, we had a 950% increase in students from Teach For India classrooms and the proof of impact is still being seen in the initial classroom seven months after the program. We put a self-imposed limit of 450 students in 2014 as to ensure maintaining of quality and energy.

As we look at ways to do more to impact our students, we plan to host our first Crossover Sport in Education Conference one-day event in collaboration with American International School Chennai for all school leaders, coaches, and educators in India to attend without cost. This is a chance to go beyond the initial piece of sport being connected to teach life skills and actually showing how it impacts educational success.

Future phases of Crossover Basketball are to create a Crossover Corps, a group of young recent college graduates who will spend a year or two in India continuously following up with our student participants and conducting weekend sessions for them throughout the year in smaller groups.

Finally, we envision starting a tuition-free boarding school for future students that centers around using sport to help create whatever infinite choices for the future.

A Stronger India

India’s role as an emerging economic power has been solidified over the last decade, yet the country is still known for some of the greatest wealth gaps in the world. While internationally known for placing a cultural emphasis on education, less than 10% of the population completes a secondary level of schooling.

Athletically, India’s Cricket World Cup victories belie an emphasis on sport in the country, but unfortunately that is typically where it stops. India sent only 83 athletes to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics, and only 3 to the 2014 Winter Olympics – where they began the Olympics having to compete under the IOC flag due to the country being suspended by the Olympic Committee. Why does this disparity exist? Not for a lack of talent or ability, but one of training, opportunity, and correlation with academics.

By linking academic emphasis and opportunity with athletics, we have created a scenario where students are able to leverage basketball to further and understand their academic career. We continue to create a new paradigm for a new century, one where children from all areas and all economic strata are encouraged to see success as a possibility and an achievable dream.