"Where there is peace, there is sports; where there is sports, there is peace. Peace is what allows us, especially young people, to dream, go after ones goals and prepare you for the next challenge in life." - Yuna
Spotlight of the Week: Haron Hargrave
Growing up in Queens, New York, basketball has always been a huge part in Haron's life. Starting at the age of three, he was always considered one of the best on his team. With his hard work and dedication, his work ethic started to pay off when he reached high school. Attending the Campus Magnet High School, Heron was named captain and his light continued to shine. He used this accolade to push him to do better and received a scholarship at Sacramento State University in California.
Outside of his school basketball involvements, Heron was known for playing a lot of street ball at all the top basketball tournaments. Some of these tournaments including Rucker Park EBC in Harlem, Hoops in the Sun in the Bronx, and Dyckman Basketball in Washington Heights. Every opportunity that he had to play, he would, and one day he showed why he was one of the best. While playing in Hoops in the Sun, He dropped 12 three pointers and scored 57 points. Everything seemed to be going his way, but that soon changed.
While attending Sacramento State, Heron's best friend Mark Arrington was gun downed in Queens. He couldn't believe that this happened and he was lost for words. But instead of mourning, he decided to act and be the change that he wanted to see. Heron created a one day basketball tournament to promote peace in the community. With more killings happening, he decided that he would make the brand bigger than he originally expected. This ended up creating his main brand Ballin4Peace.
What made you create Ballin4Peace?
I started Ballin4Peace due to the fact of the senseless acts of violence that was going on in my community and all over the world. I felt there was a void that needed to be filled in so I did my part to push peace.
Ballin4Peace has definitely created change in the community. With him wanting to create peace, he also encouraged people to come back to the community that they are from and give back. Yes, some people make it out of their situation, but why not help others that have not. "Sports just bring people together." Within the first few years, Ballin4Peace has grown larger and larger. Starting with hundreds to attendance, to now having thousands.
What major changes have you made within the first 5 years?
The major changes I have made during my first five years of Ballin ‘4 Peace :
I would say is just staying consistent and looking for fresh and new talent. We talk about change, but I feel like staying the same is something that helps me with what I am doing. People love consistency!
Consistency is definitely a key to success. You must have a strong foundation before you try and add more weight onto your shoulders. This always aligns with time. Do not be in a rush because great things come to those who wait. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
What new features can we expect to see in the next few years?
The next few years I would say the biggest features would be traveling to different states and other countries to put together the special Ballin4Peace events.
Heron plans to expand Ballin4Peace and take it on the road going to different states. He’s currently working on branching out first to Atlanta and L.A. and maybe even going overseas with it. Along with expanding his locations, he has expanded his sports. Starting with just basketball, he now includes football and bowling. He uses these sports to give a different point of view and attack different markets.
Bowling caught traction, but football was reaching headlines. Ballin4Peace was included in major media outlets for playing an annual charity flag football game at Brooklyn Bridge Park. For this event he had partnered with the NYPD to help bridge gaps and make lasting impressions on the youth. People always look at police officers as the bad guys, but in reality there are many officers that are helping to change the world.
Were you ever about to give up? What changed?
I never felt like I wanted to give up on Ballin4Peace. I actually felt more connected after my first event to do more. When I started Ballin4Peace I didn’t think I would be doing it going into year six. Therefore I never thought about quitting, but thought more about the process to move forward and continue to build on what I started.
Throughout the year, Heron makes sure to stay active impacting kids. From being a teacher to doing service projects, he makes sure to not forget about the community that didn't forget about him. In life it only takes one person to change someones life. The difference between him and others is that he wants to be that one person for thousands of people. Not only is he trying to be that one person, he is helping to influence others to do the same.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own charity?
The major advice I would give someone that wants to start their own charity is that it has to come from the heart. It can’t be something that you just want to do, because you think it’s something you’re supposed to, you have to feel it and live it.
What is one trait that is important that is overlooked in your brand?
The one trait that I feel is overlooked in my brand is the passion that I bring to the table. I feel it gets overlooked due to the fact that a lot of people create things for clout and not for anything other than what they’re actually doing. My message is peace through sports and that’s my end goal; to continue to push peace.
Highlight of the Week : Haron Hargrave
Instagram: @H2o5 @Ballin4Peace @H2OBasketball @H2omsuic_
Interviewed By: Bryson Dorsey
Be Smart. Be Prepared. BnDorsed