Seventy-five local kids just finished a six-week program called M.O.V.E. (Motivate, Overcome, Visualize, Empower) where they learned among other things the importance of Education, Family and Drug Awareness.

The community basketball clinic offered by the Ocean County Prosecutors Office and their community partners was presented at Abundant Grace Church in Toms River.

These 10-14-year old kids got to play some basketball and have fun but also learned valuable life lessons in the program designed to promote self-esteem, respect, and setting goals.

A number of the children in the program received awards for Academic Achievement, Sportsmanship, Most Improved and M.O.V.E. (overall performance).

Everyone though left with a shirt and a medal.

“The program goes far beyond teaching the basics of the game of hoops," Joe Coronato, Ocean County Prosecutor said. "Coaches inspired the best out of each of the children both on and off the court. The motivational leadership of the dedicated coaches wove together several critical life skill themes that are so important in a youth’s character development.”

Some of the life lessons taught to the children were:

  • Creating a strong sense of social responsibility.
  • Emphasized a strong sense of community for kids from all parts of the county by highlighting togetherness and acceptance of others.
  • Instilled a sense of commitment/motivation to strive to do your best every day and never give up.
  • Promoted setting goals and doing the right thing.
  • Educated participants why important to stay away from drugs, gangs and negative influences.
  • Being a leader and not following blindly.

150-combined children since the program began last year have been able to have fun and prepare themselves for a bright future.

The program was sponsored by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and PBA Local 171.

It was coordinated by Sgt. Renee Nauyoks of the OCPO Juvenile Unit and was developed by Toms River North High School Alumni and Det. Anthony Carrington of the OCPO while he was a student at Wagner University.

Coaches Rob Taylor, Al Nardini, Elliana Nardini, Agnes Whitfield and OCPO Agent Nicole Testa also gave their time to run the program.

"OCPO Juvenile Unit and OCPO PBA 171 sponsored the event and owe a special thanks to Pastor Anthony Storino of the Abundant Grace Church for providing the program venue," OCPO Spokesman Al Della Fave stated.


More From WOBM: