FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 18, 2014
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins recently visited the Orchard Gardens K–8 Pilot School to observe the “No Books, No Basketball” program and speak to the program’s participants.
The No Books No Ball Basketball Program is a broad–based community action initiative that teaches children sportsmanship, athletic prowess and academic aptitude through teamwork, coaching and mentoring provided by civic minded, volunteer role models. The program is committed to increasing the high school graduation rate of at–risk children and others within the community and uses basketball as a means to achieve that end.
During a break in the program, the staff members gathered all of the kids together so that Sheriff Tompkins could speak to them about staying out of trouble and reiterate to them the significance of their participation in the basketball program.
The program’s founder and Executive Director Tony Richards introduced the Sheriff to the kids and others in attendance and thanked him for visiting and supporting the program.
“Just out of respect, without a connection or without an endorsement, we just got brilliant support from Suffolk Sheriff Steve Tompkins,” said Richards. “Please give a big round of applause for the Suffolk County Sheriff.”
Sheriff Tompkins began by addressing the kids, asking them their ages, and encouraged them to stay in school.
“I want to say on behalf of your friends, your families, myself and everyone here – I’m very proud of what you’re doing,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “Do your schoolwork, continue to make your parents and families proud of you, because they’re going to count on you. Your elders are there making sure you do the right thing, but as they get old they’re going to need you to take care of them, so you’ve got to do the right thing.”
Sheriff Tompkins then turned to address the people who played a part in putting the program together.
“I want to say to my brothers and sisters, I admire what you’re doing. I grew up in the projects, in a single–parent household. I understand the struggle. My mother worked three jobs to take care of two kids, so I applaud you. I appreciate the fact that you’re down here, and I thank you for your support.”