The PCA Blog - Cleveland

Making Communities Stronger with Sports


Youth basketball at Near West Recreation

Near West Recreation is partnering with PCA to help support its goal to build a stronger community within Cleveland’s Near West side neighborhoods.

Since its founding in 2012, Near West Recreation has offered a variety of recreational programming for children of all ages, providing experiences that engage families of diverse backgrounds with the aim of building community, preserving and promoting diversity, and creating opportunities for fun and safe play for children in the neighborhoods served by the organization.

A partnership between Ohio City Incorporated, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, Tremont West Development and Stockyards, and Metro West Development, the organization currently offers everything from baseball, soccer, and basketball, to bowling, boxing, volleyball, LEGO League, creative writing and more. 

In January of 2017, the organization began a partnership with PCA-Cleveland, focused on providing resources and training to youth basketball coaches and parents in order to help their kids have a more positive athletic, developmental, and educational experience. The partnership was funded through a generous grant from the OMNOVA Solutions Foundation, and included a workshop with the program’s volunteer coaches and another with parents.

“PCA was a great addition to our basketball program this season,” shares Keri Palma, Near West Recreation Manager.

It helped shape the way our coaches work with their players and how parents support their children.

At the core of that support is helping adults understand how to deliver kid-friendly criticism and to support the development of resilience and their ability to bounce back from mistakes.

Palma adds, “I loved the emphasis on filling the youth’s emotional tanks. In a world that is filled with criticism, it’s an important thing to remember that kids need a lot more positive reinforcement.”

Marty Mordarski, PCA-Cleveland Chapter Executive Director comments, “We have been thrilled to partner with Near West Recreation and provide training and resources for the program’s coaches and parents while helping to support their mission and leverage sports as a vehicle to help young people build character and to strengthen the bonds in the communities they serve.”

“We’re also extremely grateful for the support of OMNOVA Solutions Foundation. Without their funding, and without the support of our other corporate and community partners, we would not have the opportunity to partner with Near West Recreation or other similar youth sports organizations in our communities.”

Mordarski and PCA-Cleveland hope to expand its partnership with Near West Recreation in the future.

“We want our kids to enjoy sports, enjoy the competition and want to continue to be active,” Palma explains. “PCA has given Near West Recreation, its coaches and parents the template to accomplish that goal.”

Help PCA Make Cleveland Stronger with Sports

If you want to help ensure that more kids in our communities have positive, character-building experiences that teach critical life lessons and strengthen the friendships and bonds in our communities, donate to PCA-Cleveland today!

NOTE: All photos courtesy of Near West Recreation.

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