By Trenton Little
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
N.C. Central University alumnus Joshua Dorsette knows exactly how it feels to not have a male mentor or father figure while growing up. Since his arrival at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club on Alston Avenue six years ago, he has striven to be just that for the young boys at the club.
“It’s a way of giving back,” Dorsette said. “When I was coming up, my brother and I didn’t have that male mentor that could get in our face and get us right but also support us during father-son activities.”
Like the kids at the club, Dorsette grew up in community centers and Boys & Girls clubs in his hometown of High Point. However, he didn’t have that person to look up to as a mentor in the community Boys & Girls clubs.
Dorsette provides the kids with the guidance and support that he missed out on as a young boy so they won’t make the mistakes a lot of kids make, and the same ones he made during his childhood.
He uses basketball as a tool to reach the young boys, and gets them to focus on how you can relate basketball situations to everyday life. Basketball builds character traits that a lot of young boys are missing nowadays.
“With my group we put a lot of emphasis on building teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership,” Dorsette said.
Dorsette also relies on his assistant coaches to fill in when he isn’t there; NCCU Sophomore Quantre Via and Senior Jessica Locke serve as the assistants for the basketball team.
The Club has had a basketball team for about 20 years, but Dorsette has taken the basketball program to the next level. He started a team for the 14 & under Division I Amateur Athletic Union league, widely known as AAU.
Last year the team played games in Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Greensboro, and some nearby in Durham. Dorsette hopes to expand on that this year and take the team to Las Vegas, Augusta, and Orlando.
“The goal is to participate in showcase camps to get the kids some exposure,” Dorsette said.
This year, a Division II team was added to the Boys & Girls Club because more kids wanted to be part of the team.
Longtime member of the Boys & Girls Club and now worker, Quantre Via is the head coach of the Division II team. Via was featured in the Voice last September when he won the Salvation Army’s Youth of the Year Award for 2011. He also helps with training the Division I boys when needed.
Via has been coming to the Boys & Girls Club for 13 years and 19 days, and really sees the growth in the club.
“When I was coming up people just came to play ball, now there’s more structure and positive things for the kids to do,” Via said.
The Salvation Army helps with the team traveling expenses. While the Salvation Army covers some expenses, it’s on the kids and Dorsette to cover the cost of playing in tournaments.
Dorsette understands each kid has a different circumstance. While some kids get sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club, some of the parents are able to cover the costs to participate in tournaments.
“The parents will get a schedule of the tournaments we intend to participate in, if a tournament costs $250 and I have 10 kids it will be $25 a kid,” Dorsette said.
However, Dorsette doesn’t just focus on basketball; the kids have a strenuous schedule at the Boys & Girls Club right after they get out of school.
When the kids first arrive around 3 p.m., it’s homework time until 5 p.m.
At 6 p.m. the kids get split up into groups of eight, and rotated through the computer lab, game room, and gym.
On Monday and Wednesday each week at 6 p.m. the basketball team has workouts, followed by the weight room to prepare for the upcoming season.
They won’t officially start traveling until February 1, but they can work out and participate in competitive leagues in November.
Tahj Small has been coming to the club for six years, and plays for the basketball team. He says he has gotten better since coming to the club due to the drills and ball-handling exercises Dorsette focuses on.
Dorsette said he understands the importance of education. He has a rule that every basketball player must have a minimum of a 2.7 grade point average and he also created a new program this year to send the basketball team through: the “D-to-D.” It means from Diplomas to Degrees. He not only wants the kids to get a high school diploma but turn that into a college degree.
Dorsette said he loves to be able to build relationships with the kids and watch them grow.
Give to the Salvation Army
Voice story about assistant coach Quantre Via