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The Fundamentals Of Financial Literacy and Basketball

08 August 2022

CPS and Project Love will continue to be at the forefront of helping all students get the essential resources they need to continue to excel.

CPS and Project Love

By Joey Gelman

For the second annual year, Chicago Public Schools Office of Sports Administration hosted free summer camps across the entire city of Chicago for students in grades 5-12. However, this year also included CPS and Project Love Chicago partnering for an enriching basketball camp initiative at Englewood STEM High School.

While the camp featured incredible basketball competition with some of the District’s top talent and coaches, it was the educational component off the court that left the students with essential life skills.

Project Love Chicago strives to provide youth mentorship services to many CPS students and aims to support them through academic scholarships, academic guidance, career guidance, and even AAU basketball programs. It was birthed amidst the pandemic to meet the needs of students who had dreams of continuing their academic and or athletic careers in college.

“Through my experiences, I saw the difference in my friends that I grew up with that were positive, they had a positive outcome, that’s why we started Project Love,” said Curtis Henderson, Founder and Executive Director of Project Love Chicago.

Curtis Henderson

A hallmark of this camp was to provide students with guest speakers to help them understand how to navigate the next chapter of their lives, either in athletics or beyond. These speakers included current CBS Sports Broadcaster Stephen Bardo, Eugene McIntosh of the BIGS Media Network, Jamie Adams of Loop Capital, Jason Campbell of Brand B Sports, Alex Austin from Mount Carmel, and the CEO of Chicago Positive Impact Tracy Abrams.

“Ultimately the kids are more receptive to what they are saying, because they look up to these people who are talking to them,” Henderson said. They see a reflection of themselves in those people and want to be in their shoes one day.”

image of student playing basketball

The last week of camp focused on the incredibly important topic of financial literacy with collegiate basketball standout and founder of Athlete’s House Jalen Coleman-Lands. Athletes House introduces financial best practices to student-athletes to help them become financially independent, whether they pursue professional athletics or not. 

“The experience I’ve had playing with different people, from different social and economic status…[I realized] a commonality and plight within the community, the lack of knowledge and education in financial literacy,” Coleman-Lands said. “Going into what credit is.. what is opening up a bank account and the importance of that and how they play a major role [in life].”

Jalen Coleman-Lands

During the early portion of the seminar, the students were asked what they thought of when they heard the word ‘wealth.’ Coleman-Lands and Henderson reassured the students that building wealth comes through smart investment and financial literacy.

“I think financial literacy is very important to get in front of the kids early on because it can be very powerful to be financially literate before you start making money because then you understand the power of different financial vehicles to use,” said Henderson. “Also for the ones who may not come across a fortune of money, they can still make a fortune for themselves by becoming financially literate…I’m stressing the importance of also finding what your passions are… so you can figure out what you want to do once the basketball stops bouncing.”

While the camp has come to a close, CPS and Project Love will continue to be at the forefront of helping all students get the essential resources they need to continue to excel in the classroom, on the field, and in life.

Jalen Coleman-Lands in classroom

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