Our mission is to create hope and opportunity for underserved student athletes in the city of Milwaukee, by preparing them for life beyond the game.

Why We Do It

We noticed that student athletes in Milwaukee are being overlooked, or falling through the cracks. Student athletes receive praise and recognition for their athletic accomplishments, while their self-identity and scholar-identity are underdeveloped. We no longer want to see or hear about the talented athlete that squandered their talent, is jobless, or ends up in prison.



The Trailblazer program for middle school student-athletes in 6-8 grades emphasizes life skills, social skills and effective study habits. Program activities will help student-athletes develop self-confidence, a sense of personal responsibility and respect for others and the community. Academic assistance will be available for all participants in the program.

Buckle Down

The Buckle Down program for grades 9-12 focuses on setting high expectations for the classroom in addition to athletic success and community involvement. Each student-athlete and his/her family will create an academic, athletic, and career plan that will serve as a road map for the student-athlete future. Student- athletes will meet three nights a week after school with mentors, tutors, and motivational speakers to provide support and encouragement to them throughout the school year. In addition to everything offered in the trailblazer program.

Higher Ground

The Higher Ground Program for college-bound student-athletes emphasizes study strategies, time management tools, assistance in career planning and attaining internships, and continual guidance of mentors through degree completion. Years one and two are often the most challenging, thus emphasis has been placed on study strategies and time management tools that helps student athletes create a balance between academic and athletic commitments.

Academic & Athletic Institute for Higher Learning

This summer program provides engaging math, literacy, technology and science activities for middle school and high school youth. In addition to the academic assistance, this institute will offer, in the summer, an elite athletic program with training from some of the best sport trainers in Milwaukee. This two-pronged approach is intended to stimulate both body and mind.


  • Achieve a 90% or better high school graduation rate among program participants.
  • Maintain a 95% or better school attendance rate between middle school and high school participants.
  • Surpass the subpar 2.0 grade point average for high school student-athletes and the 2.3 GPA for college student-athletes.
  • Achieve a 90% or better passing score on ACT or SAT
  • Identify and train mentors with athletic backgrounds who can identify with, monitor and support participating student-athletes.
  • Have 100% of program participants create a plan for academic, athletic and life success, with input from parents/guardians, mentors and school personnel.
  • Achieve a 90% or better college or technical school graduation rate among program participants.

“Above & Beyond the Playground will empower student-athletes to achieve excellence in the classroom while reaching their academic, career and athletic goals. If it was not for academic assistance/mentoring in my life. I would have been, lost, with no direction and potentially missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Carl Landry, professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Vincent H.S. Graduate

“If there had been a program like Above & Beyond the Playground when I was growing up, I would have had opportunities to see these mentors doing things that I only watched from afar. Above & Beyond the Playground gives student-athletes examples to follow that are first-hand, touchable, attainable, and real. That is more important than telling someone what he or she can be. Young men and women need to see what they can be. ”

Jamahl Mosley, assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks


Above & Beyond the Playground is a newly formed nonprofit business providing academic and athletic mentoring programs for middle school, high school and early college students in the city of Milwaukee. An ambitious desire to make a difference and nurture Milwaukee’s youth compelled Deonte Tatum to develop a nonprofit mentor program structured around academics and athletics, and to see it become a reality. Above and Beyond is modeled as enrichment enterprise serving the public and is designed to promote personal growth and team-building through valuable mentor/student-athlete relationships working together to achieve common goals.

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Deonte Tatum



Rick Polk

Team Member


John Schuessler

Team Member

Other Members: Jose Winston, Anthony Jacobs, Joe Klein, and John Chappell