Neighborhood Highlight – May 2nd, 2011

Last year JayO Ansah put together an event to give back to the comunity. He brought in skilled basketballers for a dunk contest, but it was about more than just entertaining the crowd. The competitors were all doing their best to be good role models, the tickets raised funds for scholarships, and it turned a hobby into a career path.

JayO created Jaytees just to have some swag to sell and give out during the first Ansah classic and since then it has turned it to a thriving t-shirt business around Des Moines and now in Iowa City. His shirts can be found in at least 8 different shops around the area and they are all unique to their locale. If you are looking for a killer design for your neighborhood, contact JayO. He partners with graphic designer and third grade spelling bee champ, Van Holmgren over at 8-7 Central.

Ansah wasn’t born in Des Moines, but he arrived here at age 5 and has been here ever since. He raises a family – a 7, 3, and 1 year old – with his wife Ashley, who you can see every day working at the Forest Avenue Library. So, the Mid City is very near and dear to his heart. A lot of people end up doing well for themselves, move out of the area, and don’t end up coming back back to give to the community that they came from. He doesn’t believe that, and that is what brought on the Ansah classic.

Look for the 2nd Annual Ansah Classic, coming up this summer at the Grubb YMCA. There will music, food, Jaytees, and an exhibition game. The game will have ex-basketball stars from local high schools and universities. All proceeds will benefit Culture, Inc this year.