(L to R) Kamal Yard, Philly Pride & Triple Threat, Bill Gibson, Chief Enrollment Manager for Secondary Schools, Nick Regina, Deputy Secretary for Enrollment Management and Eric Worley, Philly Pride & Triple Threat
Philly Pride & Triple Threat (PPTT) is committed to serving youth in and around the Philadelphia area in three distinct arenas; Education, Athletics, and Life.
Educationally, members of the foundation receive the necessary academic incentives and support to assure success in the classroom. Athletically, members of the foundation compete on a well organized basketball team and are involved in other basketball related activities. The two main goals athletically are; development of fundamental skills and exposure to college coaches. From a Life standpoint, participants are coached and mentored by high character and quality individuals with the primary goal of instilling appropriate life lessons in the individual students.
Eric Worley and Kamal Yard are diligently working together to inspire promising inner city youth to be leaders, champions and student-athletes as well empowering them to be successful in high school, college and life.
Specifically, these gentlemen use basketball as a “hook” to engage young men and women in the program. The larger, more important objective is to help Philadelphia area youth access high quality educational opportunities, internalize positive value systems and refine life skills that will prepare them for the day the ball stops bouncing.
Their track record is extremely strong.
Well over 30 collegiate athletes have come through the program. St. John’s Rysheed Jordan and DePaul’s Brittany Hrynko are both projected to go in the 1st round of the NBA and WNBA draft respectively. The PPTT program has developed some of Philadelphia’s most talented players in recent years. Many have prospered in some of the most academically challenging independent and Catholic high schools in the area. Recent Temple University commit Levan Alston (Haverford School), St. Joseph’s University commit Chris Clover (St. Joseph’s Prep), Tony Carr (Roman Catholic), Sean Lloyd (Mt. Zion Prep, MD), Josh Sharkey (Archbishop Carroll), and Lamar Stephens (Haverford School) have come through their ranks. In each case, the young men were well-prepared for the rigorous academic programs they encountered.
Philly Pride & Triple Threat is, clearly, one the leading youth sports development programs in the Greater Philadelphia region. They take the responsibility of preparing students very seriously. Over the past couple of years, Philadelphia’s public schools have faced unprecedented budget problems and experienced massive teacher and counselor layoffs. An already under-served group of urban students have found themselves virtually abandoned. As a result, the roles of Worley and Yard have evolved and expanded.
They have become de facto school counselors for a significant portion of the 500 or so students in their program. More and more, they have been asked to help guide more students from poor and middle-class families to the area’s top middle and high schools. By default, Philly Pride & Triple Threat has been providing students with the kind of personalized counseling that students from more affluent families tend to get from private counselors or their school-based guidance counselors in the suburbs. They have worked tirelessly to establish relationships with Independent and Catholic Schools in Philadelphia out of necessity.
As noted earlier, Philadelphia is the midst of an unprecedented series of budget cuts. The cuts were to the bone!! In 2013, the Philadelphia school system laid off 3,783 employees, including 676 teachers and 283 counselors. Along with teachers and counselors, those losing their jobs included 127 assistant principals and 1,202 aides who monitor the cafeteria and playgrounds. Most recently, The SDP raided the The existing Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund, which has about $40 million built up in it. The future for Philadelphia’s public schools is very bleak.
Nonetheless, every day Yard and Worley work with students and parents hungry for good school placements. They recognized that they needed to become much more knowledgeable about the application and financial aid process at tuition-based schools. Toward that end, they recently met with Nick Regina, Deputy Secretary for Enrollment Management and Bill Gibson, Chief Enrollment Manager for Secondary Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Yard says, “Mr. Regina and Mr. Gibson made us feel that our students would be welcomed in Catholic schools. I learned some important things that I can’t wait to share with our families.” He gained a better understanding of the processes in place within Catholic High Schools. According to Yard, “The Catholic high schools are very real options for our kids, we’ll make every effort to link our parents with admissions staff in several Archdiocese schools.”
Worley, a former teacher and principal in Philadelphia’s public and charter schools was also excited. According to Worley, “Catholic high schools are accessible and affordable for many our kids. I know first hand, how frustrating it can be for parents seeking a better school placement for their child. I look forward to helping our students access and navigate the application process.”
Yard and Worley also have a PPTT High School Assist Project, which will help sixth through eighth grade student-athletes succeed in middle school and leverage that success to gain admission to excellent college preparatory high schools. The HS Assist Project will offer academic instruction/tutoring, homework help, life skills development and test preparation for sixth through eighth graders.
The PPTT College Assist Project, will continue to provide high school student-athletes with the individual support necessary to be successful in high school and to prepare for college. College Assist Project support includes SAT and other test preparation, high school counseling, application/financial aid workshops, college visits and NCAA eligibility and recruiting guidance.
If you want see the fruits of Yard’s and Worley’s labor just peruse the rosters of Inter-Ac and Catholic High School teams or check your TV listings and find some Big East games, women or men.