DENVER (CBS4) – Alvertis Simmons loves the game of basketball, which explains why he has hosted the Simmons Foundation Life Skills Basketball Camp for the last 14 years.
“Everybody can go and play basketball,” Simmons said. “Find a ball and throw it up anywhere and you feel good about yourself, especially if you make a basket.”
The six-day basketball camp, which is free for the youth, spanned over two weekends teaching the fundaments of the game. Denver Broncos All-Pro safety Justin Simmons threw in an assist, donating 70 basketballs and 85 sack lunches through the Justin Simmons Foundation.
The camp is more than just a chance for the youth to work on their jump shot. It’s also an avenue to introduce five life skills which Alvertis gives to the kids.
“The five principles of the camp is love, respect, self-esteem, self-respect, and discipline. Those are the five principles of the camp. Those are the five principles that we try to instill in the young people and we figure that when we do it that basketball will be the conduit of making it happen,” Simmons said.
The Simmons Foundation for Youth and Change was founded in 2005 with its first basketball camp beginning in 2007 at Denver East High School. Over the years, Denver East Angels boys basketball head coach Rudy Carey and his son David Carey took the campers through drills, while Denver Mayor’s Michael Hancock and Wellington Webb discussed the life skills.
The exposure helps further ingrain the mission of the camp which is to help inner city youth build good self-esteem, and become productive community members. The goal is to help develop young people into respectful and disciplined adults, and it’s working.
“We learned the importance of love by taking care of each other when we’re hurt or when we’re down and self-esteem by loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves,” Alijah Johnson said.
“I learned life skills and for sure basketball skills. Just things to help me out in life,” Timothy Simmons, the grandson of Alvertis said.
It’s a cause Alvertis is passionate about and he looks to keep the camp going for many years to come.
“I’m trying to get our kids to go in the right direction, a positive direction that’s what we mean and we’re doing that. We’re leading by example and that’s what it’s all about,” Simmons said.