Paul Savramis is proud of all that Rising Stars has accomplished in its two decades of work with youth. With a vision of reaching and helping children through athletics, Paul Savramis has always emphasized the importance of having the platform education and valuable life skills in his basketball camps. It’s a tradition carried on by the leadership behind Rising Stars today. Below are a few of the frequently asked questions Paul Savramis gets about the history of the Rising Stars program.
Q: Rising Stars was actually your second basketball camp. What did you learn in the first camp that helped you shape the second one?
Paul Savramis: I was still in school pursuing a Master’s degree when I founded Eastern Invitational Basketball Camps, which provided summer camps for youth. It was a part-time endeavor that mostly focused its efforts on the summer season. I saw a need for better basketball camps, clinics and programs that were only offered during the summer year-round.
Q: Why offer year-round programs as opposed to summer camps only?
Paul Savramis: Rising Stars has events throughout the year that help its participants not only improve skills in basketball but to develop skills and values they will need in life.
Q: What year was Rising Stars founded?
Paul Savramis: We began as basketball teams in 1990 with the goal of nurturing young minds as well as promoting teamwork and competition. In 1996 Rising Stars was granted its 501(c)(3) status and began to operate as a not for profit youth foundation.
Q: How was Rising Stars different then, from the way it is today?
Paul Savramis: Actually, Rising Stars began as an after-school program at Queens Borough Community College and a high school in Bayside, New York. Initially we were an afterschool program.
Q: Why didn’t Rising Stars have its own place in those early years?
Paul Savramis: Our focus has always been helping the children participating in the program, so every dime raised went toward them. Several generous churches and the YMCA rented space out to Rising Stars in those early years. As time went on we began to partner with like minded organizations who shared their home with us.
Q: Coaches also volunteered their time, is that right?
Paul Savramis: Yes, in the early years we had quite a few notable certified coaches and teachers who came in to work with the children. That changed after we were able to hire a full time director and hire teachers as coaches.
Q: I’ve heard that the program was recommended by then-President George W. Bush. How did this happen?
Paul Savramis: Rising Stars received a letter of commendation from the President of the United States in 2003, based upon and following an official citation and letter of recognition from the governor of New York in 2004.
Q: In 2009, the Rising Stars organization took a step back and retooled. Why?
Paul Savramis: We’d grown so quickly; the demand had outgrown the funds we had at the time. We needed to be able to meet the needs of the children who attended by providing the quality mentor experience that had made the program such a success. So we restructured.
Q: How is the organization doing today?
Paul Savramis: Rising Stars is stronger than ever. Fundraising is important to the organization’s success so we work hard to get the word out about the great work Rising Stars is doing.
Having Jay Williams and his Mother Althea join our executive team was also a great addition.
Paul Savramis is proud to see the great organization Rising Stars has become. Today, Paul Savramis focuses most of his efforts on marketing the work of Rising Stars, helping with networking and fundraising efforts. A graduate of Queens College, Paul Savramis is also the founder of Eastern Invitational Basketball Camps, an organization that still thrives today.