HARLEM — A Harlem youth basketball program has netted a $20,000 donation.
New York's New Renaissance Basketball Association was given the money by Meyer Orbach, the minority owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Orbach, who is also the chairman of the Orbach Group, dropped by a practice at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center, at 34 W. 134th St., to watch the freshman group of young athletes sweat it out on the court.
The program not only instills teamwork and camaraderie, Orbach said, but it's a place for youth to develop their talent — one of the reasons he wanted to give back.
“We are thrilled to come together with our partners in the community and government to help bring a bright future to every child in Harlem,” he said.
The program works to coach young players in the fundamentals of game, but also gives one-on-one tutoring and SAT prep. The donation from Orbach will help bolster the program’s outreach, said Andy Borman, the local league's executive director and head coach.
“It’s huge,” he said. “Our educational program has been growing like wildfire..this is a game-changer.
“The opportunity for our kids is now infinitely greater.”
Borman said the program is also a way provide a safe space for hundreds of young men. The team has become known in the youth basketball world for having an orange patch stitched onto their uniforms as a symbol of anti-gun violence.
“It is to symbolize our kids’ desire to be detached from the violence that comes from guns,” he said.