OCEAN COUNTY – Seventy-five area children recently completed a six-week “Motivate, Overcome, Visualize, Empower” (M.O.V.E.) community basketball clinic at Abundant Grace Church, Toms River. The church provided the venue; the county prosecutor’s office juvenile unit and PBA 171 sponsored the event.
This is the second year the OCPO has run the clinic. It’s open to children ages 10-14, and to date, 150 children have participated.
“The youth program while recreational, also integrates life skills lessons within the basketball drills and is designed to promote self-esteem, respect, and setting goals,” a release from the prosecutor’s office said. “A significant emphasis was placed on education, family and drug awareness throughout the program.”
The participants learned to accept others in order to strengthen community bonds. They were taught to commit to a task and stay motivated, and to never give up. Setting goals and doing what is right was also emphasized. All this reinforced the overarching goal of staying away from drugs, gangs and other negative influences.
“The program goes far beyond teaching the basics of the game of hoops. Coaches inspired the best out of each of the children both on and off the court. The motivational leadership of the dedicated coaches wove together several critical life skill themes that are so important in a youth’s character development,” prosecutor Joe Coronato said.
The program was developed by Det. Anthony Carrington, OCPO, when he was a student at Wagner University. Sgt. Renee Nauyoks, OCPO juvenile unit, coordinated the program. The program was coached by Rob Taylor, Al Nardini, Elliana Nardini, Agnes Whitfield and OCPO agent Nicole Testa.