HISTORY OF RISING STARS, INC.™
The concept of Rising Stars, Inc. started in 1980 as a series of summer camps founded and operated by basketball pioneer Paul Savramis.
The camps were an international success, especially well known for their ability to reach out to and communicate with children. It was that ability that appealed to both Nike and Converse who paired Savramis with NBA stars such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan in campaigns to promote basketball, but it was the ability to utilize basketball as a teaching tool outside the gymnasium that left a lasting impression with Savramis.
In 1996 a group of concerned parents, local educators and community leaders also saw the effectiveness of that tool and reached out to Savramis to develop a yearly program for youth struggling with school, drugs and alcohol problems in Bayside, Queens where nothing else like it existed.
All volunteer, this effort was incorporated as Rising Stars Inc., a not for profit 501 (c) (3) in 1996 and launched what is now a 20 year journey changing the lives of countless children, youth and families across the country.
In 2004 Mr. Dan Gimpel, a graduate of Rising Stars and pupil of Savramis became the program’s full time executive director and worked closely with Mr. Savramis in establishing the programs new identity and mission of using basketball as a tool to promote education. In 2007 Gimpel was joined in his efforts by ESPN’s Jay Williams another Rising Stars alumnus, and Ms. Althea Williams a staunch advocate of innovative educational methods. The three joined Mr. Savramis to help rebuild the organization’s infrastructure, assist in fund-raising, enhance the educational/basketball component of the programming and build a strong Board of Directors. Today Rising Stars, Inc. has a staff of 35 professionals and is considered one of the elite educationally-centered youth programs in the country. The mission remains the same. We remain deeply concerned with the problems of family life, social and academic challenges children face in their formative years, troubled at risk youth, and the poor.