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November 19, 2013

Surface at the Brooklyn Youth Sports Club

Harris Friess is a basketball club co-director of the Brooklyn Youth Sports Club in Brooklyn, New York a non-profit organization for high school students. He’s working to help inner-city youth enroll in college and Surface is playing a big role in this. We visited with Harris to learn more about his mission and how Surface is helping his organization do more.

Can you tell us a bit about your program?

My brother Lyle and I founded The Brooklyn Youth Sports Club (BYKSC) in 2009. The BKYSC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit youth development initiative that assists low-income student-athletes in their pursuit of college enrollment. To achieve this goal, BKYSC uses basketball as the vehicle to engage student-athletes and to inspire them to achieve academic excellence. Our programs provide academic enrichment to our student-athletes (ages 8-18) beginning in elementary school and continuing through middle school and high school so as to prepare them for the rigors of college.  Our student-athletes, many of whom come from single-parent homes and attend underperforming public schools, are exposed to daily violence, gang activity and drug use. BKYSC not only provides them with the structure and support to achieve their academic and athletic goals, but it also affords Brooklyn youth a refuge from these dangers.

How many Surface’s do you have in your program? Which Surface accessories are you using for your students?

The BKYSC has 11 Surface devices that we use in our daily programming.  The attachable keyboard is really helpful especially in the classroom setting or on the road.

What are some of your favorite Surface features?

The ability for us to get multimedia out to the public is huge.  Whether it’s posting photos on our website or emailing newsletters to our donors that engage them.  Even filming the kids playing games and sending that right to college coaches is very helpful.

How many youth have gone through your program so far?

Since 2009, we have had 200 kids in the program.  Last year 30 graduated high school and went on to college.  This year that number will be closer to 50.

How did you get involved with the Brooklyn Youth Sports Club?

My brother wanted to put a team together for underserved kids.  We had so much fun and felt the need for our services was so evident that we decided to grow it into a comprehensive academic and athletic program.

How has having the Surface engaged and inspired the kids in your program?

The Surface has been exceptionally helpful in engaging kids because it gives them a fast, reliable and cool way to compile the resources they need to complete their work.

Why is being involved in this organization important to you?

The BKYSC and my role in it are important to me because many of our kids are desperate for someone to believe in them and connect with them.  To give them the support they need to get through difficult times, and I know we do that.

If others wanted to get involved or support the Brooklyn Youth Sports Club, how would they go about doing that?

Please visit our website– we have a great team of volunteers that help with coaching, tutoring, mentoring and college guidance.  We can always use more help!

If you could describe Surface in three words what would they be?

Versatile, inspiring, and practical.

We’re inspired to see people like Harris working to make a difference in the lives of others and using Surface as a device to run his program and inspire his youth.

Emilie Bridon
Senior Manager – Microsoft Surface