GENTS AND GEMS
Congratulations to Curtis Lee, Travon Robinson and THE GENTS AND GEMS! They performed amazingly in front of a lively crowd in Byrd Park as part of The Sports Backers's RVA Streets Alive event. It was a hot one, but you wouldn't have know it by the energy and enthusiasm shown by these talented kids! We are grateful to be in partnership with The Sports Backers and look forward to working together more this summer.
The Gents and Gems Program focuses on empowering and educating at-risk youth through physical activity. By incorporating the synchronized and rhythmic art of "Step" to engage kids, the Gents and Gems Program captures the fierce need for belonging to a group and combines that with an emphasis on emotional health, academic excellence and physical fitness.
The Gents and Gems consist of male and female youth from five neighborhoods within Richmond's Churchill area. Violence between these communities is not uncommon. Due to this unrest, many young people in these communities turn to negative influences to feel connected, accepted and protected. Gents and Gemsis a positive alternative. Strong adults leaders serve as counselors and mentors, guiding these children to make good healthy decisions and teaching them how to not only cope with, but also overcome adversity.
Without the Gents and Gems, most of the program's participants would not be involved in an organized team activity. "Stepping" provides them much needed structure and discipline. The program empowers kids from different neighborhoods to work together by elevating their self-worth and facilitating healthy social interactions. Preparing for performances is a physical, mental and emotional task. By showcasing their talent on a competitive platform, these children gain self-confidence, pride and a sense of belonging. The Program Director and coaches hold the Gents and Gems accountable for their academic performance, classroom attendance and behavior in and out of school. They also serve as mentors to these deserving young people.