Monday, April 18, 2022

Paul Savramis | James Joseph Kerr Was More Than A Friend

Paul Savramis
“Losing a friend is never easy…,” slowly begins Rising Stars founder Paul Savramis. “But losing a mentor and someone that directly impacted the direction and the course your life was to take is beyond description.” Continued Savramis… “on March 28, 2022, one of my best friends and the inspiration behind what Rising Stars is today, Coach Jim Kerr, suffered a stroke on the golf course at his current home in South Carolina.” 
Family and friends kept Kerr company while sharing their favorite stories and memories with him and he passed away peacefully on April 3, 2022 after watching the Final Four. Paul Savramis heard the news from coach Kerr’s sons, Jimmy Jr. and Michael, and the memories they shared opened doors to Savramis’ early days and how it all began for him with all he has done to date.  

Paul Savramis reflects that it was coach Kerr that invited a young college student to work his basketball camps, and it was coach Kerr who taught him what it was that could make a difference in the development of a basketball player. It was coach Kerr that introduced Paul Savramis to basketball players’ coaches and the world of basketball at a time when it was part of what was to become a legacy for NYC.  

Monday, December 13, 2021

Paul Savramis: 2021 Ended On A High Note

Paul Savramis
2021 was a difficult year for many. Paul Savramis says that the Rising Stars Youth Foundation continued to face challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing restrictions. But, through it all, the students, staff, and coaches of RS persevered. 
According to Paul Savramis, RS brought in a new face for 2021. Coach Jill Cook, who is a championship coach at Christ the King Olympian and also coached Sue Bird, a WNBA and USA Team member. Paul says that he brought coach Cook in for a winter clinic, which was co-coached by Vinnie Cannizero. 
Paul Savramis recalls that he knew that the winter clinic would be a success, despite being the first time it had ever been done outside of summer. The clinic sold out within a day. 
Something unique about the winter clinic for 2021 was that both boys and girls were invited to join. Rising Stars founder Paul Savramis says that there were many moving parts throughout the process, and coach Sue Kenney also played a pivotal role in putting sneakers on the court. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Paul Savramis on Rising Stars Youth Foundation Community Service

Paul Savramis

Paul Savramis says his organization, Rising Stars Youth Foundation, is more than just a basketball program. He explains that the vast majority of what his program does focuses on academics and community service. For 2021, student-athletes have volunteered thousands of man hours. 
According to Paul Savramis, one of the most successful community response outreach efforts this year was in conjunction with The Book Fairies in Long Island. This nonprofit works to foster literacy for people in need by providing reading materials across different age groups. In September, Rising Stars volunteers distributed more than 14,000 books. There are two additional volunteer events with the organization scheduled for 2021. 
In October, student-athletes also worked closely with Paul Savramis and other leadership at Rising Stars Youth Foundation to pack meals at a local church. In November, Rising Stars Youth Foundation will host an additional community service event, which will feature a turkey giveaway. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Paul Savramis: Rising Stars Welcomes Families To Participate

Paul Savramis

Rising Stars Youth Foundation founder Paul Savramis says that as teams return to the court, the issue of parents exhibiting bad behavior on the sidelines is something that can’t be ignored. However, he says that parents are always welcome to participate with their child, and reminds that positive behaviors now will result in fewer emotional and behavior problems in children down the road. 
According to Paul Savramis, his organization offers classes and clinics to children as early as four years old, or in prekindergarten. These “Little Stars” are encouraged to play, learn, and grow in a basketball-centric environment. Unfortunately, many parents tend to push competition in these early ages. This can have a negative effect on the child. Children that are pushed too hard to soon often grow to hate the sport that was intended to be used to better their lives. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Paul Savramis Congratulates Ebony Young

Paul Savramis
Paul Savramis, founder of the Rising Stars Youth Foundation, is pleased to announce that his friend, Ebony Young, is running for NYC District 26 Council member.  
Ebony has lived in the Woodside Queens area for the last decade and has raised her daughters here. She has proudly served her community as a nonprofit leader and social responsibility executive throughout Long Island. According to Paul Savramis, Ebony Young has a long-running relationship with Rising Stars. 
Paul Savramis says that Ebony Young was who he reached out to in the early days of his organization’s structure. Together, Savramis and Young forged a partnership with the Long Island city YMCA, where Ebony served as director. Her vision led to profound and lasting changes in the lives of the underserved children she chose to serve in those early days. 
Paul Savramis explains that Ebony Young worked with Rising Stars as well as other community leaders to develop a tutoring program for Rising Stars participants. Those students already enrolled in the program saw dramatically improved grades and, thus, greater opportunities in high school and college. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Paul Savramis: Cheers To 25 Years

 Rising Stars Reflect on their Personal Growth

According to Rising Stars Youth Foundation founder Paul Savramis, his nonprofit organization turns 25 in 2021. Here, the basketball maven and child advocate touches on a few key bits of information that have impacted rising stars over the last 2 ½ decades.   

Q: How did Rising Stars come up with the core values of Play, Learn, and Grow? 
Paul Savramis: Our Play, Learn, Grow value system stems from Nike’s PLAY Foundation. This was an initiative that was popular in the mid-90s. Nike fashioned a Peace Corps for sports, and corp members coached underserved children in different athletic disciplines. Such an innovative program and was a huge inspiration for Rising Stars. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Rising Stars Youth Foundation: Remembering Friends

Paul Savramis
Rising Stars Youth Foundation is sad to announce the passing of high school prospecting scout Tom Konchalski and also of Nick Gimpel, uncle of RSYF Executive Director Dan Gimpel. Here, the organization reflects on the lives of two longtime friends. 
Q: Who is Tom Konchalski? 
RSYF: Tom was a prolific figure in the world of high school basketball. For more than four decades, he was one of the most notable high school basketball scouts in the US. He also ran the Basketball Insider Report since shortly after beginning his career. Tom also served as the owner and lead of the Five-Star Basketball Camp, which was attended by Stephen Curry, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, and other basketball greats in high school. 
Q: What stands out about Mr. Konchalski’s career? 
RSYF: One of the things that stands out the most was that the Basketball Insider Report was actually written on a typewriter and then copied and mailed out 16 times every year. There were more than 200 college coaches that relied on Tom’s knowledge and intuition of high school basketball players. Tom was affectionately called “The Glider” for his ability to move in and out of games unnoticed, despite his high-profile position. 
Q: How will RSYF remember Nick Gimpel? 
RSYF: Nick, who is Executive Director Dan Gimpel’s uncle, influenced Dan to go to college and play basketball. Coincidentally, he and Tom were also the closest of friends and attended Archbishop Molly together. They shared an innate fondness for NYC basketball. Dan has many of his own fond memories having the two be his biggest fans throughout his professional career. Nick and Dan were often spotted at Rising Stars functions together. 
Q: How did Nick Gimpel influence Dan? 
RSYF: Dan has often said that his uncle Nick actually didn’t play basketball in high school. He did, however, encourage Dan to grab a ball and enroll at Georgia. Dan often says that his uncle Nick was instrumental in helping him define his core beliefs and, as such, molding the core of the Rising Stars Youth Foundation. 
The entire RSYF family is deeply saddened by the loss of both Tom Konchalski and Nick Gimpel. These two men were and remain important to the organization as a whole and their legacy lives on.