Red Rush Basketball: Using sports to guide the youth

Red Rush Basketball: Using sports to guide the youth

By Desirée Zagbai

De’Nae Cassidy Reid, 14, feels excited whenever she arrives at the basketball court. She is able to play a sport she likes and does well academically because of the Red Rush Basketball program.

“No matter where you come from, your background, your financial situation, or anything else, there’s always a way to work it out here, and there’s always a way to help you follow your dream that you want,” Reid said.

The Red Rush Basketball Program in Montreal is a youth community organization that offers services to boys and girls ages 10 to 19. Over 300 children are enrolled in workshops on financial literacy, journalism, life coaching for teens, and tutoring.

At Red Rush Basketball, aspiring basketball players can improve their skills, such as ball handling, shooting, finishing, and more—players from Africa, Jamaica, Canada, India, and other countries.

Reid has built long-term friendships by playing with people her age, and she explained how the coaches always want their players to be the best version of themselves. They have individual sessions where they can express their thoughts and concerns.

In a world where women in sports have not always been respected, being in an environment where one feels safe and supported as a girl is something she appreciates.

“I feel like having. . this grounded place is perfect for us because, you know, being a girl in 2024 is complicated, and everyone has these different stereotypes and topics that they kind of like to compare you to,” Reid said. “But being somewhere where everyone’s different and everyone gets a chance to shine is really uplifting.”

Denburk Reid, who used to be a star basketball player at McGill University, created the Montreal Community Cares Foundation in 2012. He is also the founder of the Red Rush Basketball Leadership Program, which was created in 2005. He wanted to give young players a chance to reach their basketball goals and do well in school. During the 20 years Reid has worked with youth, he has seen students who did not do well at school graduate from high school, college, and university. He has also seen participants become professional basketball players and students become accountants, lawyers, businessmen, vice presidents, and CEOs of companies.

Reid explained how one of the participants was still in Grade 8 at 16. Still, he used basketball to combat his academic struggles and graduated from a university in the U.S.

“I’ve seen again the power of sports be able to take a kid where people counted them out, and through sports, training and discipline, they were able to turn their academics around,” Reid said.

Red Rush Basketball is not only a place for basketball; it is more than a game, as it says on its banner.