by Malik Vincent
One of the ways that Jakim Donaldson, a former basketball standout at Edinboro University, gives back to his North Side community is his annual summer basketball camp.
The 6-foot-8 former Division II All-American currently competes overseas in Spain’s top professional league. The Oliver grad and his father, Jay, organized the camp that had more than 70 kids, this year.
|STAR POWER—Former UConn star Ashley Battle (right) drives on two campers. Battle was one of the instructors at the Jakim Donaldson P.R.O.M.I.S.E. Basketball Camp held July 25-27 at Perry High School. (Courier Photos/William McBride)
“Just to see the twinkle in the kids’ eyes when you say ‘free camp’ motivates us,” Jay said.
The annual camp is in its second year and was held July 25-27 at Perry High School.
“I think it’s so instrumental to have these types of things for the development of young players,” Jakim said. “They didn’t have very many free camps when I was coming up, so for them to have a chance to take advantage of one makes it a worthwhile cause.”
With both offensive and defensive drills as well as ball handling technique training, the camp focused on what to do on the court, but Donaldson said that’s not its sole teaching.
“We had several people come in and mentor the participants,” Jay added. “We want them to understand the importance of how to conduct themselves off the court. It’s equally important.
Several entities, throughout the North Side and beyond, served as the camp’s sponsors. Some included: the Northside Leadership Conference, Mark Anthony Salon in Oakland, Quik-it Chicken on Brighton Road, and City of Pittsburgh District 6 City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle.
“We’re in our second year and it’s great to see how some the kids have grown mentally, in their game, and physically,” Jakim added.
His father pointed out the Pittsburgh Pirates as a major sponsor. His other son, Jehru—18 at the time—was murdered on his way to one of their games.
The team has donated 150 to 200 tickets to their P.R.O.M.I.S.E. (Protecting and Restoring the Order of Mankind with the Initiative of Serving Elders) organization, which is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit.
“We at P.R.O.M.I.S.E. are very appreciative to the Pirates’ generosity, not only with this camp, but with everything that this organization does,” he said.
In addition to the camp, they also hold an annual ‘Gathering of Loved Ones’ event that is held in Northside’s West Park that provides food and games, in an effort to stop the violence.
“The community’s role in this is essential for our growth,” Jay said. “We need its continued support in order for us to keep this going.”
(Malik Vincent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @malikvincent.)