Insight Flint – Organized, well-structured youth sports and physical activity offers countless benefits to young people. From promoting healthier lifestyles and boosting self-esteem to building problem-solving skills and nurturing academics, youth sports give student athletes the tools they need to thrive in a challenging world and grow up to be successful adults. Unfortunately, barriers such as cost, a lack of resources, and few adult mentors make it difficult for many young people in disadvantaged communities to access quality, skill-building athletic programs.
That’s where organizations like the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village (SBEV) in Flint steps in. With a mission to reach the area’s “at-risk” youth population through engagement, academics, and community events, SBEV offers free year-round programming taught by local professionals who believe in supporting the young people in their hometown. Some of the organization’s most successful programs have been in youth sports, including summer camp programs and the upcoming Gus Macker 3 on 3 basketball tournament.
As we celebrate National Youth Sports Week July 20-26, we reached out to SBEV sports director Omar Dasuqi to learn more about the importance of youth sports in the neighborhoods of north Flint, how SBEV is investing in local young athletes, and how Insight’s resources and expertise in fields like sports medicine play a role in the organization’s mission to empower the community.
Describe your role at SBEV:
My name is Omar Dasuqi and I am the sports director at SBEV. We strive to provide our youth with top-performance athletic opportunities from ages 5-15. All are welcome here!
What types of youth sports activities/programs are offered at SBEV?
We currently offer football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, and skateboarding.
How many young people participate in sports activities at SBEV?
We have 200 kids in our current summer camps. During our spring break camps we have 130 kids and there are 130 kids in our Jr. Pistons youth basketball league.
What is the importance of youth sports in the Flint community?
It is important that young people have athletic opportunities and a safe haven for them to participate. We also strive to provide leaders and mentors for kinesthetic learning.
It was announced that SBEV is opening a state of the art sports complex on Flint’s north end. Can you talk about this project and when it is expected to open?
This project will be a facility that the entire community can utilize for several sports initiatives and neighborhood engagement. Phase one is underway and we are anticipating a 2023 opening date.
What is SBEV’s role in the upcoming Gus Macker tournament?
SBEV is the host organization for the largest 3 on 3 basketball tournament in the United States July 30 and 31, 2022. We brought Gus Macker back to Flint for the first time in 20 years last year, and it was a big success. Events like this promote good sportsmanship and sports leadership, as well as the importance of community.
How does Insight partner with SBEV to promote youth athletics and health?
Insight provides their state of the art facilities for youth camps, volunteers, and expert instructors in youth programming.
How has the community responded to SBEV’s youth sports initiatives?
The community has embraced our professionalism, innovation, and commitment to providing sports to Flint’s youth. Many parents choose SBEV due to the free programming and duration of our camps.
Do you have a success story you can share on how SBEV’s commitment to youth sports has positively impacted a young athlete?
During a football camp, a 6th grade student was brought to the program by their family for behavior and disciplinary problems. I have been able to mentor this youth and provide an important opportunity for positive peer social engagement. These efforts have been successful in changing this student’s behavior from negative to positive.
How can the community support youth sports initiatives at SBEV?
The community can continue to support our programs by volunteering their time, being interactive with our programs, sharing our social media posts, and donating to keep our programming completely free for our local youth.
Is there any other news or upcoming sports-related activities the community should be aware of?
Be on the lookout for the Jr. Pistons basketball league, and of course, our Gus Macker event July 30 and 31 in downtown Flint.
For more information about youth sports at the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, as well as the organization’s other free year-round programming for youth ages 5-17, call 810-893-6098 in Flint or 312-567-2000 in Chicago. Details on the organization’s mission, programs, events, and how you can support SBEV though donations can also be found online at sbev.org.