Shooting Stars Basketball Program
Growing up in Waterloo, Sean Alford was falling into a “typical” situation many urban boys find themselves in during the start of their teen years: lack of after school programs leaving many youth without constructive activities to engage in. He was falling quickly into idle time and an idle mind that was mixing a recipe for trouble. Most of the time, you could find Sean at the city park playing basketball with his friends. Smack talkin’ and attempts at slam dunkin’, he was getting his game down pretty well, but had never really had an outlet for his passion besides a pickup game when he could get it in. Then the day came that Sean says changed his life. He was introduced to the idea that a basketball and someone with a big heart willing to share time with the kids heading into “trouble” was all he needed to move forward in the right direction. 23 years later, Sean took that same approach to kids in the Des Moines community.
Sean and his wife, Janiece have spent the last three years giving their time, resources, and energy to the Shooting Stars Basketball Program. Starting in 2009, they started with 100 youth ages 5-16 participating in basketball, dance, and cheer. Utilizing Good Park as their first home, they were required to move to Evelyn Davis Park after the basketball courts were removed. Since then, their presence has been a welcome site during the summer at the park. With over 150 youth signed up this summer and collaboration with the City of Des Moines and Evelyn Davis Summer Programs, they were able to provide an end of the year field trip for youth and volunteers to Adventureland Theme Park. Additionally, Simpson College donated uniforms to the all the youth involved, helping the Alfords with needed supplies. Over the last three years, they have paid out-of-pocket for most of the gear, supplies, and uniforms, refusing to turn away anyone regardless of ability to pay. Sean and Janiece both have a heart for youth and believe that turning the experiences they had as teenagers, with challenges and lack of resources, into action today is what makes Shooting Stars possible. These moments of action and service showing others how it does not take much more then a basketball and heart to truly save one young person…Sean is paying it forward from the impression left on him a teenager. He hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Shooting Stars Basketball Program has sign ups in Spring, asking parents to either pay $30 registration to cover expenses or volunteer two hours to the Program. Their seasons run June-August with all practices and games happening at Evelyn Davis Park. If you are interested in participating, volunteering, or donating to Shooting Stars Basketball Program, please call Sean Alford at (515) 313-7684.