Through this scheme a local basketball club based at the university have been able to recruit high performing basketball players to represent the club whilst studying at the university. Through time, these scholars have engaged in short term community outreach programmes as part of their scholorship agreement.
Sport has a unique ability to bring people together, we bought in to that from the start and worked with them through every stage of their life cycle on a pro-bono basis to develop a structure for the organisation that would enable them to scale what they were doing and increase the number of kids they were working with. We believed in what they were doing and believed we could help them make a difference. We helped them structure what they were doing into two distinct areas; The Victory Scholorship Programme and The eHOOPs Community Service Programme.
It was as a result of using scholar athletes to contribute to community sport outreach that an idea was born. Gareth Maguire, Dr Deirdre Brennan, both specialists in the fields of sports development and physical education identified a visionary approach to embed the sporting values of dedication, commitment, hard work and respect to inspire and educate young people at risk.
They came to us as USNI Sport having secured funding in the United States for two scholar athletes to do their MBAs at Ulster University and then to work directly with them in a sports outreach programme mentoring teenagers from a deprived area in Belfast.