COLUMBIA − Columbia Supreme, a local youth sports league, is working to improve lifelong outcomes for high-risk youth while improving inclusion and diversity in the region.
The league allows children to play basketball without the fees that might prevent them from joining other leagues. League founder Anthony Johnson is also focused on teaching athletes the importance of community service.
Thursday’s community service event was in cooperation with the Turning Point Day Center, an outreach point for Columbia’s homeless population.
Several of the athletes traveled to the Turning Point Day Center to serve a meal to some of the people who use Turning Point’s services.
The children served burgers and hot dogs that they prepared with the help of their parents to dozens of people in need.
Center director Darren Morton said he was excited when Johnson said he wanted to work with him.
“They play sports, they play basketball, but Anthony knows that’s way more important than sports,” Morton said. “I just think it’s super cool that Anthony wants to show his athletes that the homeless community needs love and support.”
Johnson said he wanted to teach his athletes the importance of giving back.
“It’s really important for kids to understand that a lot of people are one or two paychecks or an emergency away from being in the same situation,” he said.
Some of the athlete’s parents said they were happy that their children had the opportunity to serve their community through this league.
“I want my kids to know that their service to the community and their involvement in the world around them is important, and I’m so glad Supreme is giving them this opportunity,” said mom Tanajia Douglas.
Johnson said he is always looking for new ways for athletes in his leagues to serve their community.
“I just think it’s good to expose kids to different things,” Johnsons said. “And the community has been so good to us and our program, so we want to give back to them.”