Rockford group hopes to use basketball program as stepping stone to college

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A Rockford group wants to use basketball as a stepping stone to college.

It’s called the Future Collegiate Stars Youth Basketball League, which targets students from fourth through eighth grade. 

Organizers from the Fatherhood Encouragement Project says it’s more than just a game, as they’ll require players to perform community service.

The program will also provide financial aid and free tutoring.

“This is extremely important for our youth,” said Dan Petrie, founder of the Fatherhood Encouragement Project. “We want to stress the importance of academics and that, obviously, directly correlates with athletics and the importance of getting them to college.”

The league kicks off next month and runs September 11th through October. The cost is $50 per child. Parents can register at illballerz.com.

the Fatherhood Encouragement Project was founded in July 2015, when Petrie brought together a small group of fathers from different walks of life. Those fathers were united by the simple goal of wanting to be better dads. The peer-based group meets weekly and shares fears, frustrations and flaws, but also encourages their accomplishments and strengths.

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