Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A Beautiful Soul And The Heart of Rising Stars Remembered

Paul Savramis

Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis Remembers Althea Williams
Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis has experienced a great deal at the helm of the program he began 26 years ago. On any given day, he can share a moment that brings a smile or reason to feel good about the future. He is thankful for that. 
But today, Savramis can only think back with incredible sadness and loss on the passing of the one person he credits as being the driving force behind his work and his inspiration for creating Rising Stars. 
That person was Althea Williams. 
Savramis finds it difficult to articulate any memories of Althea. The emotions take over and the words fall short.“I learned so much from Althea that it's impossible for me to know where to begin!” 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis shares this month's Rising Stars Youth Foundation Newsletter

Paul Savramis

Savramis shares the best with exclamation points and an emphasis on areas that are very special to him. 
When asked why this newsletter stood out as being special, founder Paul Savramis said, "Our monthly newsletters report on regular program highlights for the foundation, including tournament results and community events. We also like to include any college commitments made by our scholar athletes, especially from boys and girls that have been a part of the program since 3rd grade. But this month's newsletter was very special for me, " continued Paul Savramis. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis Embraces The Chance To Go Back To His Roots

"The Rising Stars Foundation has always seen travel as an invaluable teaching tool for its teams," states founder Paul Savramis. "We have always tried to include new areas every year for our families to experience in addition to playing in local leagues." 
So when Rising Stars veteran and former college coach James McCullough came to Paul Savramis with the idea of bringing his international travel initiative in Greece under the Rising Stars umbrella, Savramis was quick to say yes! 
Paul Savramis explains that James knew that he had brought teams to Europe over an eight-year period and that they were very happy with the results and the success of the program. What he didn't know was that Paul Savramis was born in Greece and would like nothing more than to get back there with basketball in tow. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Paul Savramis Praises Hearts And Hoops

Paul Savramis

Rising Stars Youth Foundation heralds the holiday season with its annual Hearts & Hoops drive Wednesday, December 14th at The Holy Child Academy in Old Westbury, NY. 
The annual event was a resounding success, and Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis had special praise for the 48 Rising Stars student athletes that worked throughout the evening to make over 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the needy.  
Paul Savramis
Said Paul Savramis, "Rising Stars is focused on positively impacting family and community through their foundation and this was totally a Rising Stars family affair! The Rising Stars athletes and many of their parents worked well together to get the sandwiches made, packaged, and delivered to three destinations.” Paul Savramis added, "This event was meaningful for us in many ways, and one of them was seeing our new director of education and community outreach jumping right in and hitting this event right out of the park!” 
Savramis was referring to Rising Stars’ newest director Mikaela Kelly, a psychology and counseling major that replaced Emily Ades after seven years. 
“It was wonderful to see the families all chipping in to help feed the needy” said Mikaela Kelly. "I heard how Emily (now the director of the Kin Foundation) was so incredible in putting these events together and I just hoped to do my best in continuing that tradition of community spirit and fellowship." 
"That she did and more,” praised Paul Savramis. “We were all very anxious when Emily moved on to direct the Kin Foundation, as she was the heart of our outreach programs. But we were beyond blessed to find Mikaela.” 
Paul Savramis
Mikaela Kelly (second from left) with her father, sister, and brother-in-law
Mikaela was not alone in her first time at bat as she made the event a family effort. Malachy "Mac" Kelly, her younger brother, is a Rising Stars scholar and is currently a standout player at The Hun School in Princeton, NJ.  
Mikaela’s father, sister, and brother-in-law were also at the event to help accomplish the mission. Mikaela and her dad delivered the 1,500 sandwiches to three grateful “soup kitchens.” These were The Long Beach Soup Kitchen, The Terena Williams House in Hempstead NY, and The South Baptist Hempstead Church, also in Hempstead, NY. 
It was a great evening for all and the perfect way to begin where Emily left off, said Paul Savramis. 
Rising Stars will host many more community events for charity under Mikaela as part of the holistic process to improve the arc of their student athletes’ lives.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis Remains Committed to the Concept “It takes a Village to Raise a Child”

Paul Savramis

Talking about the Rising Stars vision comes very easily for Rising Stars founder and President Paul Savramis. When asked why it’s so easy to talk about the past 26 years, the answer is always the same. Says Paul Savramis, “Because very little has changed in our mission, or how Rising Stars goes about making a difference.”  
When pressed to go further about how yesterday’s plans continued to be tomorrow’s thinking, Savramis goes back to Rising Stars' three core elements and that is to provide opportunities for youth to PLAY LEARN & GROW. “It doesn’t get any simpler than that,” continues Savramis. 
“If you went on our website 26 years ago you would see that on every page. You would also see that’s still reflected in everything we do. We still use basketball as our vehicle to enroll children into positive character-building programs throughout the year, and we still use the power of teams to reinforce the values of our players who need to make correct decisions throughout the formative years of high school. That’s our core of PLAY.” 

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.