The concept of Rising Stars, Inc. began as a series of summer camps founded by Paul Savramis in 1980. The camps included Eastern Invitational Basketball, Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis, and Future Stars. These camps established a national reputation for excellence, featured in the NY Times and Daily News as being “a better type of summer offering,” and in 1986, were rated as among the top camps in the country by Consumers Reports.
Savramis’ style and philosophy paved a new and different way for camps across the US, Canada and Europe to teach the game of basketball. As the reputation of the camp’s summer programs grew, so did the demand from parents and educators for more offerings throughout the year.
In response to that demand, Savramis founded Rising Stars, Inc., a youth foundation that became a non-profit charity in 1996. The goal of Rising Stars, Inc. was to utilize basketball and the power of teams to reach children and enroll them into yearly programs that could promote education and introduce the values they need to make correct decisions during their formative years in high school. Savramis hoped to see the basketball skills he had created to teach children develop into the skills that a child needed for life. Rising Stars, Inc. defined the needs of children into three areas: The need for a child to be given the opportunity to 1) PLAY 2) LEARN and 3) GROW.
The interactive clinics that Rising Stars, Inc. introduced in the 90’s put a basketball in the hands of every child, allowing them the opportunity to learn by “doing”. Being a part of a Rising Stars, Inc. team allows a child to PLAY and to LEARN about life by playing.
Rising Star’s coaches are also certified teachers. They are able to identify a child who is at risk, assess that child’s needs and help facilitate learning to overcome any deficiency.
In 2007, Rising Stars, Inc. extended the program’s academic support and educational offerings to be able to provide private educational programs for children in need. A series of seminars were developed that address substance abuse, peer pressure, bullying and other areas that were of concern to parents and educators. These seminars became Rising Star’s curriculum and mandatory for a child to attend, being a part of a team. Also mandatory was participation in one community service activity per year.
Today, Rising Stars, Inc. remains at the head of the class in all areas related to basketball instruction, coaching, camps and clinics. Since it began in 1996, the Rising Stars Youth Foundation has provided thousands of youngsters with the necessary life skills to succeed, both on and off the court. Over 90% stay enrolled in the programs and graduate high school issue-free and college-ready. Many return to help Rising Stars, Inc. and have come aboard as part of the program.
Two former Rising Stars, Dan Gimpel and ESPN’s Jay Williams are part of the Rising Stars, Inc. current leadership team with Mr.Gimpel serving as Rising Stars, Inc. Executive Director. As a former Rising Star, Gimpel and Williams bring a deep personal understanding and experience to leadership roles within the organization. Starting as Director of Programs before moving onto Executive Director, Gimpel’s focus was building the educational component and emphasizing the importance of teaching and learning life skills through playing basketball. He was responsible for creating the RS education fund for underprivileged children, building a college placement program and implementing educational seminars to help create awareness of social ills.
Also joining the new Rising Stars, Inc. team in 2007 was Althea Williams. Ms. Williams, a former HS principal and motivational speaker, has been instrumental in helping define Rising Star’s educational philosophy and set its new direction for the future.
As President and Founder of Rising Stars, Inc., Paul Savramis continues to promote education and inspires youth to make proper decisions. By bringing together young women and men in a supportive environment, Savramis created a safe place to promote their health and well-being as they pursue a wide variety of academic and athletic goals.
Rising Stars, Inc. helps to bring academics and athletics together and creates a bridge between family, schools and community to achieve a good balance. It is that balance that allows for the development of a child to grow into a more complete, well-rounded adult. Rising Stars, Inc. continues to utilize basketball and the power of teams to promote education and to provide children with the tools to be great citizens.