2013-2014 Academic Scholarship Recipients

The Class of 2013-14 is an exceptional group of Rising Stars scholar athletes who have shown all of the characteristics we look for in our participants, both on and off the court. We are proud to have them as a part of our program and are equally proud to be a part of their journey.


Click here to learn more about the scholarship recipients.

Tyrone Green joins the Rising Stars Youth Foundation as N.Y.C Community Initiatives Director


Born in the Bronx but raised in the Astoria Housing Projects in Queens, Tyrone Green has been running community clinics for the last two decades. Tyrone has seen first-hand the odds stacked against urban kids, and spent a lifetime working to improve those odds.

His business cards read, “It takes a village to raise a child.”, and his mantra is that education is the key to unlock a kid’s potential.

Mr. Green has been a lifetime friend of Rising Stars founder Paul Savramis and was a part of every initiative Rising Stars spearheaded for at risk areas throughout the city since 1996.

Mr. Green’s role in keeping kids in school, off drugs, and out of gangs is one of NYC’s greatest achievements. In 2010 that achievement was recognized by Mr. Green being awarded New York City’s prestigious LEWIS HINE AWARD.

The Lewis Hine Awards seeks to identify not only the one-time hero, but the individual who has made a life time commitment to the well-being, growth and development of youth. That individual should symbolize exceptional work done to improve the lives of young people.

Coach Tyrone Green has also coached several kids now in the NBA, including, Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls.

Green’s goal in life is to provide every child with an equal opportunity to succeed. He sees Rising Stars as the perfect vehicle for his vision.

Rising Stars Community Initiative

Rising Stars Partners with Long Island City YMCA in helping at risk children

Rising Stars founder and director of outreach Paul Savramis announced today that the Long Island City YMCA and Rising Stars have formed a partnership to help area kids attain success. The partnership will be both a focal point of Rising Stars community initiatives and a possible national template for the YMCA.

The initiative extends a grass roots program formed by Rising Stars executive director Dan Gimpel and Willis Perry to provide an outlet for at risk kids in Queens.

Mr. Gimpel is pleased to see the program as collaboration with the Y and stresses the influence both organizations can have on a child early in life.

Looking at the two organizations the symmetry and ability to influence early development is clear. Long Island City Y executive director Ebony Young sees that influence and points out to the many similarities between the two organizations as key to entering a partnership with Rising Stars. Ms. Young explained “Visit our web site http://www.ymca.net/ and the Rising Stars web site http://risingstarsinc.org/ and you will see that they were written with the same thoughts in mind. Both focus on the development of youth and empowering children with the tools they need to succeed in life. Both use sports as a vehicle to attract kids and as a platform to promote education. We both put the same emphasis on what’s essential in helping kids succeed.” Ms. Young continues “What was also key in our decision to join Rising Stars in this initiative was the incredible success Rising Stars has seen over the years in having its program participants graduate HS and issue free. That level of success is something that’s needed on a national level and something we are intent to see achieved here. Our area demographics include some of the most at risk areas in NY City and those areas will be a litmus test in seeing the effectiveness of the initiative.”

Savramis agrees “Rising Stars believe that the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for life. Because of programs like ours, more young people in neighborhoods around the nation are taking a greater interest in learning and making smarter life choices.”

This initiative will target a control group of Rising Stars that need academic support and will track their progress from grade 6 through entry into college. All participants will be enrolled in both Rising Stars and the Y yearly programs. Study hall will become as familiar as the gym and success in class a prerequisite to getting in the gymnasium.

The program will be directed by Mr. Tyrone Green a lifelong advocate and champion of youth. Mr. Green was a recipient of NYC’S prestigious Leroy Hines Youth advocate award and has a reputation for making a difference in the life of a child.

Mr. Green has worked with Paul Savramis for over 30 years. Together they spearheaded Nautica’s For The Good of the Neighborhood Clinic series that was the talk of the tristate in how it was able to reach kids .Mr. Green explains “What we did in a one day clinic was truly amazing and an inspiration. What we are looking to do is turn a one day event into a six year commitment. It’s something I feel will work and something I have waited to see for many years.

Mr. Green’s latest basketball protégé is Chicago Bulls and NBA all-star Joakim Noah. Joakim has joined Mr. Green in helping give back and will commit to a tournament at the Long Island YMCA to draw attention and create excitement for the cause.

One of the initiatives strongest supporters is ESPN’S Jay Williams, a Rising Stars alumni and its national ambassador.

“My mother, (Rising Stars acting President) Althea Williams, is a proponent of education and has committed herself to the case. I have both seen and benefited from this program since 5th grade and can say that it works and will continue to work wonders for kids. Mr. Williams is a great example of Rising Stars emphasis on the importance of balance between sports and education. Jay was a two time national player of the year and passed up a first round selection in the NBA to return and graduate from Duke. Mr. Williams continued “Our focus at Rising Stars has always been on seeing programs like this come to pass.

Each May we hold our foundation dinner at the New York Athletic Club and focus on the importance of having programs like the one we will have at Long Island City and what that will mean in the life of a child.”

Joining Jay at recent dinners to help get that point across were Michael Strahan, NY Knicks GM Alan Huston, and Joakim Noah.

Rising Stars Conducts Anti-Bullying Seminar

Rising Stars offers anti bullying seminar as part of its community initiative and awareness program.

Bullying and cyber-bullying are on the rise and its rise has been prevalent in youth sports. To address the issue Rising Stars executive director Dan Gimpel and Rising Stars board member Mark Rosen put together a program for Rising Stars boys and girls grades 5th-8th to help them gain awareness about the issue.

Mr. Gimpel explained, “Studies have shown that team sports, athletes, and coaches can counter bullying behavior. Our programs will seek to work with that premise and counter the effect bullying has in our area and in all other areas that Rising Stars can reach.” Mr.Gimpel continues, “This workshop will look at how bullying and harassment can do great harm and have an adverse effect in how a child develops.” Everything we try to accomplish at Rising Stars revolves around utilizing the power of teams to promote awareness of the issues kids will face growing up during the formative years. Our goal is not only to make our kids aware of these problems, but with our help and the guidance of these seminars, become a part of the solution!”

The seminar was conducted by Sarah Cushman, Ph.D. Director of Youth Education of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County. Both parents and children enjoyed the presentation which utilized role playing and interactive skits to make each child a part of the teaching process. A link to the Center is included below as well as pictures taken of the event by the Associated Press.





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Rising Stars Gala

Rising Stars Youth foundation celebrated its 10th annual gala fundraiser at the New York Athletic Club yesterday and the event was a huge success. The evening honored RR Donnelly and sons CEO Mr. Thomas Quinlan III as its man of the year. ESPN’s Jay Bilas and Heather Robinson were also honored as Youth Advocate and Humanitarian awards. The event was emceed by ESPN and Rising Stars alumni Jay Williams. A special guest appearance by CBS sports Bill Rafferty was a highlight of the evening.

Once again the emphasis of the dinner was on promoting education. With the help of Mr.Quinlan and the over 300 guests in attendance the dinner was the foundations most successful to date.

Rising Stars Executive Director Dan Gimpel was humbled by the outpouring of support. “It is gratifying for all of us at Rising Stars to see the work we do recognized and embraced by so many people. Mr. Gimpel continued, it seems like every year this event gets bigger and better and that speaks volumes as to the work we do.” Rising Stars national ambassador Jay Williams agreed. “This event holds a very special place in my heart as it allows me to share my passion for Rising Stars with so many of my friends. Dan and I both came through this program and it’s great to see so many recognize the benefits Rising Stars can have in the development of a child.”

The event was covered by the associated press and a link to the images is included below.
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Rising Stars Youth Foundation was pleased to co-sponsor the Black History Month Tournament held at the Long Island City YMCA on February 18 and February 19, 2013. Rising Stars Youth Foundation was privileged to co-sponsor this great event with other organizations who share our commitment to youth and community including Noah’s Arc Foundation, the charity started by Rising Stars alum and Chicago Bulls player Joakim Noah, as well as LIC YMCA Strong Kids Campaign who helped sponsor the program.

In addition to the basketball tournament itself, the event brought the community together by providing an educational component highlighting Black History Month, and featured a related essay writing contest.

Paul Savramis, Director of Outreach Programs for Rising Stars Youth Foundation was instrumental in helping shape this wonderful event and stated, “Utilizing basketball to draw attention and awareness to life’s bigger picture is not new to Rising Stars. We utilize basketball as a vehicle to promote education and a team as a platform for learning, The Black History Celebration allows us to accomplish this very purpose.”

Bethany LeSueur Named Director of the Rising Stars Girls

Rising Stars is thrilled to announce that Bethany LeSueur, a widely recognized expert and leader in basketball coaching and training, will be the Director of the Rising Stars Girls program starting in 2013. Rising Stars executive director Dan Gimpel said, “We are very excited about Bethany heading up our girls program. With her wealth and knowledge she will be a great addition to the program and overall mission of Rising Stars.” Founder Paul Savramis commented as well “The addition of a girls program, and more importantly, a women of Bethany’s stature as its director, completes the original vision of Rising Stars as a complete basketball program when it began in 1996.”

A six-year starter at guard for Garden City High School, Bethany led her team to three state final fours, three Long Island Championships, three Nassau County Championships, and six Conference Championships. Bethany was twice named Gatorade Player of the Year for New York as well as Miss New York Basketball. She was a Street & Smith All-American as well as a USA Today All-American. Bethany holds the Long Island scoring record with 3,167 points and played in the Nike-WBCA High School All-America game. Bethany was a three-sport athlete at Garden City where she also competed for the lacrosse and soccer teams. She was named First Team All-State in soccer and was All-County twice. Off the court, Bethany was member of the National Honor Society and a Merit Scholar. Bethany was a 3-year starter at Georgetown University as well as a two-year team captain. In three years for the Hoyas, she is one of only seven players in Georgetown history to record over 800 points, 200 assists and 400 rebounds! She also received honors such as Defensive Player of the Year for the Hoyas and the Patricia E. Corace Hustle Award. Bethany was in the top ten in steals in the Big East her junior and senior seasons. Bethany was also in the top 3 in over 5 categories for the Hoyas.

Bethany is currently a Business Education teacher at East Meadow High School where she also serves as the Girls Varsity Basketball Coach. Her extensive knowledge and experience makes Bethany an invaluable resource. We are elated to have her as part of the Rising Stars family.