Read about Kathy Pinkney's life-long involvement with children and youth.
Over the last 10 years, Kathy Pinkney, 49, has partnered with the New York City Parks Department and Housing Authority to create opportunities for children and youth in the Bronx to run their own basketball and double-Dutch tournaments.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Kathy: After I was elected Tenant Association President and Tenant Patrol Supervisor [where I lived] in 1993, I started a basketball tournament for boys ages 8 to 21 and double-Dutch teams for girls to enter tournaments. I started a Girl Scouts troop and helped to start a Boy Scouts troop in our community’s school. I volunteered with the NYC Parks Department to teach young people and adults about horticulture. Each summer we try to hold basketball tournaments in our community park for boys ages 8 to 18. We are working to start our own national basketball league. We helped and supported 600 young people throughout the 12 districts of the Bronx.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Kathy: Youth Entrepreneurs on the Rise Foundation (YER) at Grove Hill Playground, and the Enterprise Empowerment Society, all in Bronx, NY. They are home-based at community schools and parks.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefits from this work.
Kathy: YER is a project that helps young people of all ages to rise through education and business to build leadership and intellectual skills as they prepare for the workplace. Our young people help to run their own tournaments by keeping the time on the clock, scoring team plays, refereeing games, scheduling teams and recruiting players, thus giving them leadership and responsibility.
What inspired you to get involved?
Kathy: Most of my life I've always had a desire to work with young people and to help teach them about themselves and what they are capable of accomplishing in their lives. I have dedicated my life to helping and supporting young people.
How did you first get involved?
Kathy: I got involved with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Tenant Association, which opens doors to help and support young people of all ages. I also worked in a group home with girls 13 to 21 who were dealing with emotional abandonment. Before then, I always asked the parents in my communities to allow me to take their children on trips to the library, movies, parks, picnics, etc. The parents were very supportive. I've done this most of my teen and adult life.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Kathy: Many of the young boys who gained new experiences in basketball went on to play for their junior and high schools and colleges.
What is/was the hardest part?
Kathy: Getting funding to continue what was started in 1993 and to get the help and support of qualified staff.
What was the biggest surprise?
Kathy: I was able to make things happen from a dream and a desire. I raised over $106,000 in funding from 1993 to 2003.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Kathy: There is a need for young people be able to find their dreams in life, with the help and support of community programs that will create hands-on experiences that allow them to see and do more of what they learn about.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Kathy: Keep an open mind to being able to create new and purposeful ideas that will make positive changes in the hearts and minds of young people.
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