What a year it was in 2020...
As we wrap up an unforgettable past 12 months, everyone at Ballin’ 4 Peace would like to take this moment to reflect on what will go down in history as an unprecedented year. From the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, to the the Coronavirus pandemic, political and civil unrest after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the crucial rise of the Black Lives Matters movement, to a glimpse of hope as we look to turn the corner in the New Year with the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, it’s safe to say we’ll never forget 2020.
We’ll also never forget how Ballin’ 4 Peace remained diligent about it’s mission to spread peace through sports and continue our heartfelt acts of community outreach in Queens, within New York City, and in New Jersey. The drive and desire to give back during this time thanks to the partnerships we formed in 2020 not only helped Ballin’ 4 Peace make a difference but equally gave Ballin’ 4 Peace the daily energy to keep hope alive.
Less gatherings and more giving: that’s what pulled us through and kept us moving forward together.
That’s why we’re using this time to both look back on the success stories of Ballin’ 4 Peace in 2020 and also look ahead to planning for community outreach work and sports events in 2021. The best is yet to come…
Ballin’ 4 Peace Throws A Strike With 5th Annual Bowling and Holiday Toy Drive
Last year around this time, Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder Haron Hargrave was busy holding the 5th Annual Bowling and Holiday Toy Drive at Bowlmor Lanes in Manhattan in partnership with Children’s Aid NYC, Garden of Dreams Foundation, and Wooter Apparel. Not only did the event help a number of inner-city children celebrate Christmas through donated gifts and toys, but it also catapulted Ballin’ 4 Peace into the New Year with the excitement of holding yet another success event. As 2019 transitioned into 2020, we were all still feeling the highs of being able to give back to those in need during the holiday season.
“Peace” Takes Precedence Thanks To Release Of Ballin’ 4 Peace Apparel Line
Peace -- 1 : freedom or a period of freedom from public disturbance or war. 2 : a quiet and calm state of mind. 3 : agreement and harmony among people. 4 : an agreement to end a war.
These definitions hit close to home well beyond Webster’s Dictionary. Yet, there is a fifth meaning that can be applied -- the meaningful mantra projected across the latest Ballin’ 4 Peace clothing which truly defined the mission of the organization. While the "Peace" and "Equality" t-shirts, hoodies, and shorts quickly became hot sellers (and sold out!) for the B4P online store, the apparel provided a timely reminder of what’s really important. That was the case back in the Spring and certainly now today as we move forward together. Needless to say, thank you to everyone who continues to support and rep Ballin’ 4 Peace through our unique apparel.
Handing Out Free Meals In Queens With The BlaQue Resource Network
For Queens native, Haron Hargarve, giving back within his own community holds a deep and dear place in his heart. Never one to forget where he comes from, Haron jumped at the chance to work alongside the great people at BlaQue Resource Network to distribute free meals on a Friday afternoon back in early June. The generous gesture showed the power of teamwork and the importance of caring for one another, as the BlaQue Resource Network strives to create a space in Queens for Black people to network and share resources. It’s just one of the many organizations in Queens doing important work throughout the community.
Ballin’ 4 Peace Launches “1V1” Interview Series and “1V1” Limited Edition Shorts
This was the chance to pull back the curtain. This was the opportunity to dive deeper into meaningful conversations with standout athletes making headlines on and off the court. This was for the people. Featured on the official Ballin’ 4 Peace website, the “1V1” interview series included one-on-one talks with Maxwell Pearce of the Harlem Globetrotters, overseas pro guard Scott Machado, and WNBA legend Cappie Pondexter, who all opened up to share their stories of where they started out in basketball and their respective journeys. Each interview proved to be meaningful, impactful, and presented the platform for these athletes to voice their opinions on everything from basketball to the current social climate at the time. Those interviews also helped launch the release of the Ballin’ 4 Peace’s “1V1” limited edition shorts, which instantly became coveted clothing to rock.
Coronavirus Pandemic Leads To The Start Of Instagram Live Series, “The Mission”
A quick show of hands to anyone who can name the very first guest on the freshly created Instagram Live Series, “The Mission” started by Ballin’ 4 Peace? If you answered Dr. Jen Caudle, you are correct. The renowned physician, professor, and on-air personality was the first guest to join “The Mission” to discuss COVID-19 and the realities we’ve all faced during the ongoing pandemic as she spoke with host Sianni Cabello. What has followed has been a virtual who’s-who of guests ranging from law enforcement officials, entrepreneurs, athletes, media members, and business professionals among many others. As “The Mission” series continues to drop new episodes on IG Live, it’s yet another example of how the Coronavirus pandemic caused Ballin’ 4 Peace to get creative by developing impactful content for all to learn from.
Easy Eats Becomes Official Sponsor and Partner Of Ballin’4 Peace
In an effort to strengthen relationships within our communities and support local businesses, Ballin’ 4 Peace is very proud to welcome “Easy Eats Meal Prep” as one of the organizations sponsors and partners, as Jersey City, New Jersey-based “Easy Eats Meal Prep” will donate $1 for each sale of their delicious cookies and desserts.
“Any time we can come together with people and companies to help support our cause and programs at Ballin’ 4 Peace, it’s always a blessing and chance to grow. We are extremely excited to welcome Easy Eats Meal Prep to our long list of trusted partners and can’t wait for everyone to taste these incredible cookies, desserts and meals created by our friends at Easy Eats Meal Prep.” -- Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave.
Looks Back On Lifelong Lessons Coaching The Junior Knicks
This was supposed to be the 27th season when the New York Knicks held their annual Junior Knicks summer basketball youth camp that draws waves of young players from throughout New York City, but the Coronavirus pandemic altered those plans dramatically. Instead, the Junior Knicks went virtual with their plans to serve children (ages 5-14) with a chance to be introduced to the game, improve their skills on the court, and be involved in a unique online basketball experience.
Even for youth basketball coaches like Queens native, Haron Hargrave, who has served as a trainer with the Junior Knicks in the past, not being back on the court to conduct in-person camps this summer was both a departure from the norm and a chance to applaud the work the Junior Knicks continue to do in the community.
“It has been a natural fit with my role with the New York Knicks because I’ve been either playing basketball, coaching and training players about basketball, or running community sports events my entire life. At the end of the day, this is more than just a job for me. This is my passion and my life.” -- Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave
Ballin' 4 Peace Announces Partnership With Apparel Brand, Vintage NYC
In an on-going effort to establish partnerships with Ballin’ 4 Peace, the 501(c)3 dedicated to spreading peace through sports and community outreach is proud to announce that it has teamed-up with Vintage NYC LLC, the maker of brilliant popular culture themed hats, shirts, hoodies, and other apparel.
“Being able to partner with a black owned apparel company like Vintage NYC is the perfect way to spread the word about their brand and we can’t thank them enough for supporting Ballin’ 4 Peace. Not only does their clothing line stand out, but it also presents a look and feel that only Vintage NYC can create for the culture.” -- Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave
Bringing Community Together On The Court At Annual Queens Week
All of the days of preparation and planning to host a one day basketball tournament in Queens for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic was no easy task, but it was well-worth every minute. It took the support of everyone in the community and our brand sponsors to ensure the event to commemorate Queens Week X was both safely run and provided the chance to once again spread peace through sports.
”Growing up in Southside Jamaica Queens, New York, it was no joke. Queens Week and the basketball tournament made me realize that peace starts and ends with us. We have to continue to do our part to bring a piece of peace to one another.” -- Ballin' 4 Peace Founder and H2O Basketball Trainer, Haron Hargrave
Ballin’ 4 Peace Leads "Hanging With A Purpose Friends and Family Day" Event In Jersey City
There’s literally no stop in Haron Hargrave. On the same day that Ballin’ 4 Peace hosted the one day basketball tournament at Queens Week, Haron spent the morning in Jersey City where he teamed-up with Easy Eats Meal Prep for a free basketball clinic and games in an effort to spread peace and unity from New York to New Jersey. Launched in Jersey City, New Jersey in July by Francisco and Carolina Marte, Easy Eats helps make life easier, one meal at a time. With a combination of quality ingredients and savory tastes, Easy Eats Meal Prep presents a diverse and healthy menu that includes latin inspired meals, vegan options, and must-have desserts.
The Rock Basketball And Ballin' 4 Peace Announce Sponsorship Partnership
Haron Hargrave has always been comfortable with a basketball in his hands since growing up in Queens, New York and moving on to play in college at Sacramento State and competing professionally, so it's only fitting that Ballin'4 Peace has formed a sponsor partnership with the Rock Basketball.
"It means a lot to be able to partner with the Rock Basketball for our basketball games, camps, clinics, and community based programs and events at Ballin' 4 Peace and include them in our growing family of sponsors. From its historic basketball roots from Rucker Parker to now spreading peace through sports, I am excited to dish out an assist with the Rock Basketball and keep getting this basketball into the hands of players all around the game." -- Ballin' 4 Peace Founder and H2O Basketball Trainer, Haron Hargrave
Ballin’ 4 Peace Joins East Coast “Peaches & Crates” Hoopbus Tour Presented By Veniceball
Ballin’ 4 Peace was proud to take part in the the East Coast “Peaches & Crates” Hoopbus Tour presented by Veniceball, as stops will include Philadelphia and New York on Friday, September 25th and Saturday, September 26th. The Philadelphia tour stop will coincide with the “Fuel the Vote” event organized by When We All Vote before traveling to NYC to team-up with Rucker Park, Dyckman, and Hoops In The Sun.
“It’s been inspiring to watch the impact that Veniceball and the Hoopbus has had cities and people with their coast to coast tour through their community outreach. Ballin’ 4 Peace can't wait to take part in the Philadelphia and New York tour stops for ‘Peaches and Crates’. This is such a historic time in our culture and country as we keep fighting against social and racial injustice that it’s important to support the cause of Hoopbus, Veniceball, and non-profit organizations like When We All Vote. We look forward to seeing everyone in Philly and New York at the tour stops!” -- Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave
Partnering With Housing Works Youth & Prevention Services To Host "Men's Health Awareness Day"
For neighbors and communities throughout New York City, now is the perfect time to stay informed, educated, and aware when it comes to health, safety, and protection. That’s why Ballin’ 4 Peace jumped at the chance to team-up with Housing Works Youth & Prevention Services this past October at Kings Manor Museum in Jamaica, New York for a day of giving back.
HWYPS staff members were on-hand giving out free facemasks, hand sanitizer, totes, earpods, fanny packs, collector cups, personal protection (condoms/lubricant), COVID-19 testing, and information on local clinics and housing. For the “Men’s Health Awareness Day”, the focus was centered on educating and informing neighbors and communities throughout Jamaica, Queens, and New York on the importance of staying safe and protected during these times of COVID-19. Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave, was joined by the likes of Senator Leroy Comrie (pictured above). In the end, the slogan for the event said it all: “It’s OK To Be Aware”.
Ballin' 4 Peace Named Charity Partner For The 5 Borough Challenge
On Saturday, October 24th, 2020 on National Make A Difference Day, renowned fitness expert Paul Bamba conducted social distancing compliant group fitness sessions at an outdoor location in each borough of New York City. The respective boroughs partnered with a local charity -- including Ballin’ 4 Peace in Queens -- to help raise money and awareness for their organization.
“Along with continuing to spread peace through sports, Ballin’ 4 Peace is also strongly committed to being an advocate for health and wellness in our communities. Being selected to support the work of Paul Bamba and The 5 Borough Challenge is the perfect way to keep the attention on fitness, healthy living, and the chance to come together to encourage one another during National Make A Difference Day.” -- Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave
Teaming-Up With Queens Community House To Offer Remote Engagement After School Program
In an effort to continue supporting inner-city youth and educational programs that contribute to a student’s growth in and out of the classroom, Ballin’ 4 Peace is excited to team-up with Queens Community House in offering their remote engagement after school program.
A multi-site and multi-service settlement house, Queens Community House’s mission is rooted in servicing the diverse neighborhoods throughout Queens. With a focus on providing individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy communities, Queens Community House offered a fully remote engagement after school program for Middle School students (Grades 6-8).
“The Queens Community House does a remarkable job encouraging and educating students about ways they can strengthen their communities and inspire change. By taking part in the remote engagement after school program, Middle Schoolers now have a voice and a choice in what that future looks like.” -- Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave
Ballin' 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave, Named To Queens Borough President Donovan Richards' Transition Team
This was the perfect way to conclude 2020, by looking ahead to a bright future.
Haron Hargrave knows a thing or two about running the transition game.
For this former point guard at Campus Magnet High School, Sacramento State, and playing professionally abroad, the chance to see the open court more clearly and dish out a timely assist is an area Hargrave has perfected in basketball and through his on-going community outreach.
Now the Queens native is part of a bigger squad as the Ballin' 4 Peace Founder named to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards' 130-person transition team. Made up of 14 committees, the group of advisers includes a diverse range of interests ranging from government, to nonprofit leaders, and community activists.
"Since the onset of the Coronavirus back in March, Ballin'4 Peace made it a goal to continue providing support and outreach through sports to those in Queens and our surrounding communities during these difficult times. Now as we look ahead to 2021 and the chance to move forward together for the betterment of Queens, we are very appreciative for the chance to serve on Queens Borough President Donovan Richards' transition team." -- Ballin' 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave
As we look ahead to 2021, we remain hopeful at the chance at coming together to unite as a community in an effort to uplift one another and provide support to those in need through sports and beyond. Regardless if it’s on the basketball court or at our community outreach events, thank you to everyone who has walked alongside us here at Ballin’ 4 Peace on this journey.
We couldn’t do it without you.
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Ballin’ 4 Peace Founder, Haron Hargrave (646.470.2053)