Another Slam Dunk for Be You Stay True
Riverdale, N.Y. – Entering its third year of existence, the Be You Stay True program is continuing to grow and impact the lives of children. University of Mount Saint Vincent students Andrew Curiel ’18 and Francisco Zeno ’18, are now juniors on the Mount’s Men’s Basketball team and like their program, they have continued to grow.
“We’ve had great camps the past two summers,” Mr. Curiel says. “The numbers of kids has grown from 25 the first year to 40 the second, and this year we hope to have so many campers, we need to hold it over two days.”
Lofty goals are pillars for this program. Curiel and Zeno came up with this idea in their dorm room in the Fall of 2014 with the hopes of having it become an alternative to AAU. Having both played in the AAU system during their formative years, these two know first-hand how having free camp can help ease the burden on families.
“AAU and all these other programs these kids play in put a lot of pressure on them, whether it’s coaches, parents or friends,” Mr. Curiel says. “We just want to give these kids a chance to have fun, shoot some hoops and hopefully learn some skills that will allow them to really love the game of basketball.”
During the January 28, 2017 Men’s Basketball game against Mount Saint Mary College (NY), Curiel and Zeno invited campers to attend the game and to participate in a shooting skills challenge during halftime. Cheered on by hundreds of fans in the stands and the CMSV Cheerleading team, brothers Mason and Tyler had a shooting contest, both won new Be You Stay True t-shirts.
“This is the second year in a row the kids had the chance to come and play on the court,” Mr Curiel says. “They loved having the crowd cheer for them and the cheerleaders help out. They don’t know the difference between Division I, II and III, so them being able be here is an amazing experience.”
The Be You Stay True program is getting plenty of support not only from news coverage of their past events by the Riverdale Press and News12 but Curiel and Zeno’s fellow classmates also help out.
“Each year of the camp we have more and more friends come and help out,” Mr. Zeno says. “This past summer, a bunch of players from the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams showed up to run some drills and help out in other ways. We also had a few Orientation Leaders come up and show their support, by cheering on the kids.”
Mr. Curiel and Mr. Zeno have also been able to link their program with the Jr. NBA, the official youth basketball participation program of the NBA, which helps encourage and support youth basketball participation at the grassroots level and improve the overall youth basketball experience for all participants.
By linking up with this program, the Be You Stay True program was able to hold a Jr. NBA Skills Challenge, the day after the Be You Stay True Day on January 29, 2017. Boys and girls came on campus to showcase their fitness through a dribbling, shooting, and rebounding skill competition, in two different age groups: 12 and Under and 14 and Under. The two boys and two girls that won are eligible to participate in the the New York Regional competition, one of 11 held throughout the country, held at a later date.
Mr. Curiel and Mr. Zeno remain committed to develop Be You Stay True, even after their expected graduation in May 2018. Both hold part-time jobs on campus, Mr. Curiel dreams of working at the WWE in the community relations department, while Mr. Zeno, who student-teaches at PS 81 in Riverdale, wants to be a coach and mentor to inner-city youth.
About the University of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the University of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.