North York Mirror
By: Clark Kim
The North Region Basketball Association (NRBA) received an $80,000 provincial grant for one year to get more local youth to play the game of basketball.
“Our mission is to promote health and active living for youth,” said Joe Gagliardi, who founded the local basketball association along with Nick Biagini in 2000.
York South-Weston MPP Laura Albanese will officially recognize the Ontario Trillium Fund grant given to NRBA on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Chaminade College Catholic Secondary School, 490 Queens Dr.
Gagliardi and Biagini both plan to be in attendance to thank the Ontario government for the grant.
“With the money, we’ll be able to get our name out there,” said Gagliardi, noting basketball isn’t as popular as soccer for youth living in North York.
But the association, which began with nine boys and nine girls, has steadily grown over the last decade with about 450 players registered this season, with kids ranging in age from four to 18.
Gagliardi hoped to continue growing the association by bringing in people with basketball expertise such as coaches and league graduates to mentor the kids.
“Once the kids are proficient (at basketball), they’ll enjoy it more,” he said.
Three local schools will also benefit from the new grant including Chaminade College, Immaculate Conception and Amesbury Middle School with after-school basketball programming, Albanese added.
Players registered with the NRBA will have access to a homework club with tutoring by senior players and university students prior to basketball games.
“It’s good for our youth. I think it’s great because kids are always attracted to activities,” she said. “And it’s always encouraging when our community gets support.”
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