COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland men’s basketball player Varun Ram will volunteer in Chennai, India for Hoops Creating Hope – a program for students to create and develop the link between leadership, character, teamwork and communication with academic success and future goals. This marks the second consecutive summer Ram has participated in the program. He will be volunteering in India from June 29-July 6.
“This program means the world to me,” Ram said. “I have a personal connection with this program and to be able to give back through the game that I love is really special.”
According to the Hoops Creating Hope website, the program uses basketball as a vehicle of change to enable students to learn on the court and in the classroom through play and guided experiential learning. In addition to teaching the fundamentals of basketball to children, Ram will lead yoga classes and teaching life skills.
Ram anticipates that 500 youngsters will participate in the program – approximately 100 more than were part of the inaugural program. Ram said that it is a non-profit program with each camper sponsored through generous donations.
Ram was contacted to volunteer by Shaun Jayachandran, founder and president of Crossover Basketball & Scholar Academy. Joining Ram, among the many volunteers, are senior men’s basketball player Sai Tummala, of the University of Hawaii, and his sister, Shilpa Tummala, a senior women’s basketball player at Harvard University.
Ram’s mom, Santhini, and his dad, Kolandavel, grew up in a suburb outside of Chennai and Ram shared that he still has cousins who live in India. Ram left for India on June 24 and shared that it is approximately an 18-hour flight.
The affable Ram graduated this past May with a degree in neurobiology and physiology. He completed his undergraduate degree with a 3.99 average and was honored (along with Malina Howard – women’s basketball) with the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor last month. Despite graduating, Ram had one more year of eligibility and has elected to pursue a master’s degree in supply chain management in the Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Ram said he never had any second thoughts of returning to College Park. “What an opportunity I have?” said Ram, flashing his trademark smile. “To have one more year with this team and to continue to learn and play under Coach Turgeon was an opportunity that I could not pass up.”
To learn more about Hoops Creating Hope and the Crossover Basketball & Scholars Academy, click here.