While the 2020/2021 school year may have been challenging for most organizations, Above and Beyond the Playground (ABP) took that challenge and turned it around. For the first time in the organization’s 6 years of existence, it now has a home base that is no longer dependent on a public school being open. When Pastor Jay Fischer of Evangel Assembly of God Church, 9920 Good Hope Rd., offered its facilities to Director Deonte Tatum, he jumped at the chance to make his dream come true of having a space dedicated to basketball, academics, and the organization’s office.
The space was set up in the summer of 2020 but, with the challenges COVID 19 brought, it took a little longer to fully open the doors. In February 2021, student athletes looking for support in their chosen sport and academics began to meet with volunteers both in-person and online. For many volunteers it was the best year they’ve experienced yet with students. A dedicated space and the convenience of making decisions that are best for ABP - including opening doors while schools were still closed - were recognized by all involved.
One of the unexpected benefits of having a bonafide headquarters is the influx of students from all areas of Milwaukee. One motivated student found the organization online and asked to be interviewed to join the group. He is a model student who sets the bar high for all ABP students.
The data shows that all students improved remarkably in just a few months. For the spring 2021 term, student athletes - as a group - show an increase of 37% in GPA. In athletics, an increase of 34% in push ups and 18% for sit ups shows equal motivation to excel holistically.
The 2021 sessions ended with a fun event at First and Bowl in Wauwatosa. Besides activities, food and cake were enjoyed by students, parents, and volunteers! ABP is looking forward to offering students another great year in 2021/2022!