Just Ball Amongst Life Lessons (Just B.A.L.L. or BALL) formerly Ball Is Life+Skills – is a recreational sports mentorship program geared towards engaging and motivating high school students to be more physically active, socially involved, culturally aware, and health conscious. BALL serves as a feeder program for our organization that helps us to identify and develop motivating factors or interests that could ultimately lead to post-secondary involvement amongst our students. BALL provides high school teens and late adolescents from the inner city with a different organized sports outlet for six to ten weeks at a time. While participating in BALL recreational programming, students are afforded the opportunity to engage and interact with their peers and mentorship support staff, in addition to attending our required developmental workshops to maintain their program eligibility. Some of the workshop topics that are covered include crime prevention and intervention; substance abuse and recovery; conflict mediation and resolution; post-secondary education and employment; teenage pregnancy and parenthood along with other pertinent issues negatively affecting the youth and our community.
The goal of our BALL program is to positively impact our community’s urban cultural climate by promoting the overall healthy lifestyles, personal development, and decision-making amongst our young people. BALL works to eliminate social barriers and reduce the resulting tension in our community between our youth and their peers by providing a healthy outlet. BALL prioritizes inclusion of our high school youth by combating the divisive elements of our inner-city culture through team competition and group civic engagement activities. Students are repeatedly challenged to step outside of their comfort zones and are encouraged to work together in hopes to build relationships with other participants and mentors. Our mentorship support staff are on hand to begin the process of forming the foundation that makes Ohio Urban Renaissance’s youth outreach efforts successful.