Mark Sharpley has no problem pulling double-duty as the boys and girls basketball coach at Jefferson Academy.
He’s a man that enjoys teaching the game to as many kids as he can and after hearing about an outreach program in Connecticut, he’s only adding to his plate. Sharpley first heard of Full Court Peace in June and jumped at the chance to help the organization expand and open a chapter in Colorado.
Full Court Peace is about bringing the game of basketball to those who may not have the resources to play within an organized structure. It emphasizes ball drives, shoe drives and court repair to help enrich a basketball experience for areas in need.
“They’re doing great things in communities and with kids,” Sharpley said. “I looked them up and sent them an email to tell them I thought it was cool and they contacted me and said they’d love to do different chapters in different states.”
Once the suggestion was out there, Sharpley started gathering information as to what would be needed to bring the organization to Colorado. One of the first acts was to get his players involved. He reached out to them to tell them about the programs he’s hoping to get going and got immediate responses from several players.
Perhaps the biggest selling point in getting involved was the organization’s desire to get a full basketball experience together. It doesn’t focus solely on improving one particular part of the game for those in need, but rather enriching the basketball experience as a whole.
“The basketball drive does a great job of getting basketballs to young people who don’t have them or have access to them,” Sharpley said. “Same with the sneaker drive. So many kids have pairs of shoes that if they get them cleaned up we can send those out. Those are going to be big.”
Sharpley isn’t stopping with just his basketball teams. Even though he’s still early in the process, he’s doing what he can to bring other schools into the fold so that the program can have a state-wide reach.
“This will be kids from different communities working together,” he said. “They’ll be learning more about each other through the sport. That’s kind of the plan.”
There are already plans for a basketball and sneaker drive in place for Jefferson Academy. The basketball drive aims to put basketballs in the hands of kids in the Denver Metro area. The sneaker drive is going to send supplies to the Wind River Native American Reservation and get shoes to boys and girls at the school there.
But overall this is just the beginning. Sharpley’s ultimate goal is for the organization to get a strong foothold in Colorado and provide enough equipment and resources to further enrich the game at the youth level.