Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Looking Back Helps Us To Look Ahead

Paul Savramis

Talking to Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis about the Future of Rising Stars 
We caught up to Rising Stars President and Founder Paul Savramis at the site of the future home of Rising Stars in Freeport, Long Island, and were able to ask how it felt looking ahead to the completion of the new athletic complex in late 2023. His answers were a surprise as they reflected as much on looking back as they did on his looking ahead. 
Q: How does it feel to finally have a home for all of what Rising Stars has done the past 26 years? 
Paul Savramis: It feels great, and we are all excited about it, but what we did in the past 26 years to get here is, and should be, what the story is all about here today. 

Q: In what way do the past 26 years define the future for you? 
Paul Savramis: In every way imaginable. The best way to begin is to share these three early videos of some boys we had entering our scholar athletes the past few years that are now freshmen in college today. The schools include Harvard, Duke, Williams and Tufts… with one boy attending Williams being the only member of his family in history to graduate high school! All of these boys came to Rising Stars with a dream. Some had greater challenges than others, but all came together as a team with the same goal in mind: achieve success both on and off the courts. 

2019 Video


2018 Video

2017 Video

Q: Is that not the mission of Rising Stars? 
Paul Savramis: That is one of the goals of Rising Stars, but the mission itself is to promote education. 
Q: That sounds like a very simple mission. 
Paul Savramis: Yes. It is a very basic premise, but it anchors a great deal more. I look at the three videos here and I am amazed at how well the families in them speak in defining what we do and what the mission entails. They always seem to describe Rising Stars better than anything we can ever put on paper. 

Q: Can you expand on that? 
Paul Savramis: When you see a student talking about what the teacher has taught them, it is much more telling than the teacher trying to explain what they are trying to do. For Rising Stars it’s to utilize the power of teams to introduce the values children need to make correct decisions during the formative years of high school. 
Q: Making correct decisions growing up? That sounds pretty involved. Where and how would anyone begin to do that? And how would anyone be able to show that they could do it? 

Paul Savramis: You're asking how we would define success? The answer is how many of the boys and girls that are accepted into the scholar athlete programs go on to graduate high school college-ready and issue-free. And, the short answer is 100%. 
Q: And the obvious next question would be what is the long answer? 
Paul Savramis: The long answer is 26 years and counting. But in brief, we stack the deck before being accepted into the scholars program. A student needs to demonstrate that he can do all of what would be required of them to achieve the goals of graduation we set for them in grade school. 
Q: What would those be? 
Paul Savramis: They are asked to attend weekly tutoring, do yearly community service programs for the Rising Stars Foundation, and maintain an honor roll grade point average. That’s from 6th through 8th grade. If they demonstrate all of that, they can apply for acceptance to the high school scholars program which provides academic, social, and athletic support at a private high school. 
Q: That’s impressive. 
Paul Savramis: Not on our part as much as it is on theirs, which is why they succeed in high school. That also brings us back to the question as to how I see the past 26 years as a big part of our future with the opening of the new facilities. 
Q: And how exactly does all that you described in the past make you look at the future in opening up a new home? 
Paul Savramis: Those videos you have will answer that better than I can. I will add that everything we have done will now be available for us to do in one central location as a whole. The new home for Rising Stars will have much more than basketball courts. It will define what we say we do in offering opportunities for all youth to PLAY LEARN GROW. That will happen because of the additions of a Learning & Academic Resource classrooms and a Wellness and Fitness Center. But the most striking part of what I see from seeing the boys in these past videos is that they are now young men coming back to Rising Stars looking to be a part of helping others. To me this is what defines everything we have done in the past and look to continue doing here at Freeport in the future!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Rising Stars October 2022 Update

Paul Savramis
October was a very busy month for Rising Stars as they began their fall and winter seasons with a flurry of events that have become a fall tradition for the foundation. 
Rising Stars founder Paul Savramis was enthusiastic in describing this month's events as they all signaled a great start to the season. 
First up was the Rising Stars 2022 12th annual golf outing at the Cherry Valley Golf Club on October 11th. "This event is one we always look forward to," said Paul Savramis. "Kudos to our operational manager Tom Hughes and our Executive director Dan Gimpel for putting this together again. Without their hard work and dedication, we could not host any of the events we do each year. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Paul Savramis: Rising Stars Youth Foundation Finds a Place To Call Home

Paul Savramis

Long Island's Rising Stars Youth Foundation founder Paul Savramis announced today that, after 26 years, his vision of promoting education through sports has finally found a home. 
The new home will be housed within a total renovation of the 16,000-square-foot Freeport Armory. The Armory is centrally located in the village of Freeport on the south shore of Long Island. 
"Freeport is the right choice for us to be,” said Savramis. "We couldn't ask for a better address." "The Armory is a perfect location for Rising Stars for a variety of reasons,” added Savramis. "It is directly off the parkway and within an easy drive from nearly everywhere we draw from." 
In addition, Savramis said Freeport would open new doors and locations for Rising Stars, including Queens and Manhattan, where Rising Stars has families that want to come to them but have had a difficult time doing so with distance. 

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.