In recognition of Hoops and Homework’s tenth anniversary, founder Herb Chasan received The Framingham Senior Heroes award.
The award states that: “His role as the founder of Hoops and Homework has benefited so many young people from diverse backgrounds and given them opportunities to thrive. His initial idea to help those who had little access to after-school programs and his continued efforts to fundraise to expand the program to help more children is so impressive. lt is the unselfish contributions from Herb and others that have made Framingham a place we are proud to call home.”
Ten years ago, when we opened our doors to kids and their families we could only dream of the amazing community we were to build and the incredible program that would develop from our work. We look forward to sharing with you the highlights and memories of the last 10 years, and our hopes and dreams for the next 10 years. What has made this program successful over the years is the dedication of our supporters in providing a fun and rich learning experience for the students.
Hoops and Homework is dedicated and committed to assisting young people and lower-income families in Framingham’s south side neighborhoods, in particular. Many of these families include members of the African American, Hispanic, and Brazilian immigrant communities.
Herb’s vision of giving these children something productive to do in the afternoon led to his asking the Town for funds to help start the non-profit program, Hoops and Homework in 2012. The goal of Hoops and Homework is to break the cycle of poverty and jail – to have a job, to be a success.
Hoops and Homework afterschool and summer programs opened shortly after Town Meeting approved the funding. The next projects were the renovation of the old basketball court at Carlson Rd. and then construction of a brand new basketball court, in the fall of 2016 at Interfaith Terrace. Herb chose the basketball courts to provide children with a productive after-school space where they could learn the value of teamwork.
A year later, Herb received approval from the state Office of Early Education and Care to run and manage a licensed after-school and summer program, the first such neighborhood-based program in Framingham. This provided a beneficial impact to the community by giving the children in this low-income access to volunteers and staff who would help them with their schoolwork and enrichment activities and meals. The after-school homework and recreation program is now open at two locations. With the help of staff members and volunteers, the children spend afternoons completing their homework, making crafts, playing basketball, doing yoga, learning to play musical instruments, gardening, and various other activities. Herb brings in speakers and educators and provides sponsored field trips to broaden the children’s experience.
Within the first year of this new program, the center’s enrollment capacity was 35 children. Since then, Hoops and Homework has helped more than 300 children. Many of these neighborhood children come from very challenging home lives and it is difficult for these low-income families to afford after-school programs, so the donors provide scholarship funds to allow kids to attend. Hoops and Homework is a safe haven for them. Additionally, many single-parent families cannot meet the cost of transportation to programs like this, which makes it important that the programs are located right where the kids live. All eligible children are able to participate, regardless of the associated costs, due to our scholarship program.
Hoops and Homework next built a brand new playground at Interfaith Terrace to replace the old unsafe playground. This was a result of the dedication of our many volunteers led by Ricky Finlay, Priscila Sousa, and Cheryl Tully Stoll.
Continuing improvements consisted of the construction of an updated and expanded learning center dedicated to our outstanding supporter, Kevin Giblin. This is a picture of the ribbon cutting led by Tracey Bryant and Don Taggart.
Hoops and Homework also collaborates with MetroWest YMCA and Framingham Public Schools on a system of take-out meals, providing these children with balanced suppers every day. Food insecurity is a major issue in some of the children’s homes.
Most importantly, Herb fights for their future and the future of Framingham. He remains an avid and consistent fundraiser for Hoops and Homework and has solicited help from many people in building a solid network of donors and volunteers.
A mother of a child who is enrolled says the program is a fun and helpful center for her daughter. She emphasizes the help it provides to her, especially when she cannot understand her child’s homework, due to a language barrier. She appeared on WCVB TV recently and praised Hoops and Homework.