DETROIT (WJBK) - They are quite a bright group of kids and they're pretty talented.
These Detroit teens ages 16 to 19 are part of the Detroit Phoenix Elite Youth Sports Organization. They are working with the folks at East Lake Church on the city's east side with the goal of this non-profit to help the city's youth.
"This is about saving lives and helping some young men that there is a lot of things they could be doing," said volunteer Carol Banks.
The organization offers teens support on and off the court.
"We (learn) life skills, workshops, she takes us places, it's a great program," said Titus Anderson, Detroit Phoenix Elite. "It gets kids off the streets."
Many of the young men come from low-income families.
"They are coming right out of this community where the struggle is real," said Bera Cunningham.
It's no secret they've had tough beginnings.
"These young men all go to different schools," said Sheila Holmes, founder of Detroit Phoenix Elite. "When we come together, we have a big family here."
The organization's founder and basketball coach Sheila Holmes is trying to reverse the potential effects of growing up in poverty like risky behavior and dropping out of school.
"You have some that have graduated and some with the help of Sheila have been pushed to graduate and do better," Cunningham said.
And before these teens got involved?
"In the summer I'd sit home and do nothing," said Andres Moran, Detroit Phoenix Elite. "Now I have a team to play basketball with. It's pretty fun."
The Detroit team has qualified for the Amateur Athletic Union National Basketball Championship in Orlando, Florida next month but they don't have enough money to get there.
Holmes says right now they have about $1,000 of their $7,000 goal. She says she knows it is a lot to ask, but if you can spare anything, please help.
"Some of them haven't even been out of the city of Detroit," said Banks. "So we want to make this not only an experience to play ball, but also enjoy the city."
The trip is also an opportunity to meet other players and coaches.
"I could show what I'm really worth and what I can do on the court," said Anderson.
Holmes feeing desperate, created a GoFundMe page to hopefully, with your help, get these teens to Florida.
So what do these teens think of their coach?
"Caring, nice and giving," said Dajonovan Zanders, Detroit Phoenix Elite. "She is always there when you need her."
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