From its beginning in June of 2020, 804 Coaches For Change has been about action, beginning with its peaceful march on Monument Avenue. The group’s latest foray into helping bridge the gap for youth in the Richmond area is the 804 Coaches For Change Community Classic.
The Classic is a three-day event that will be used as a backdrop to promote unity and honor those making a difference in our schools and community. The Classic begins with a dinner for all participating teams on Dec. 21. The student-athletes will hear from a variety of former area basketball standouts – about their lives, how basketball has helped them and what we all need to do to continue to impact change. On Dec. 22, four girls varsity basketball games will be played, and the following day, four boys varsity basketball games will be contested.
Before and between each contest, Richmond youth will be put on display, teachers, bus drivers, frontline workers and more will be honored, and those that are less fortunate will be assisted. Del Harris and Stephen Lewis, 804 Coaches For Change vice presidents, are key team members behind the scenes.
“It’s important that we continue the original vision of our founder Coach Darryl Watts of Armstrong High School,” Harris said. “We will continue to press forward using basketball as a platform to address issues regarding racial inequality and support uplifting the voices of our young people. All change takes time, but little steps of positive progress, no matter how small, will unite our community and continue to build compassion and hope together.”
“We look forward to continuing to inspire all and create positive change throughout the community,” Lewis said.
Supporters of the inaugural Community Classic include CarMax, BetterMed, U-Turn, Richmond Police Athletic League, I-9 Sports, Team Richmond, Leadership & Achievement Academy, KPMG, CapTech, BSN Sports, Tavenner & Beran, Foundation for Family and Community Healing, Hickory & Oak and Befriend.
The nonprofit Befriend was founded by Mollie Reinhart in 2017. The group has been in lockstep with 804 Coaches for Change since the nonprofit’s inception in 2020. They teamed up with the Leadership & Achievement Academy for Community Nights at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Church Hill from the winter of 2020 until the summer of 2021, providing youth in that community with basketball tutelage, life skills, mentorship, food, t-shirts and lifelong friendships.
Befriend connects people through many paths to meet one another and forge new relationships by uniting through compassion. Its theme, “we are all more alike than different,” celebrates our common humanity and unifies our community. “Befriend is honored to partner with 804 Coaches for Change to bring the community together through the path of basketball and create a positive, unifying event this inaugural year and for many years to come, “ Reinhart said.
804 Coaches for Change also created and participated in other community builders, including the CARE (Conversations About Race and Equality) League, Town Hall Zooms, backpack giveaways and various speaking engagements around the Richmond area.
For more information on 804 Coaches for Change, visit www.804coach4change.org, email at email@example.com and follow on social media @804coach4change. Contact Harris or Lewis directly for more information on the Community Classic.
For more information on Befriend, contact Mollie Reinhart, Ed. M. at 804.921.8207 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Befriend’s website is www.befriendmovement.org, and you can follow them on Instagram @befriend.movement.
One-game tickets will be $10, day passes are $15 and two-day passes are $25. All tickets and passes are purchased at the door. The dinner is invite only and closed to the public.