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Metro mentors run fireworks tent with a purpose, providing young men with learning opportunities

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Some metro mentors who use basketball to engage urban youth are running a fireworks tent this week. The idea is to use the tent as an opportunity to teach the boys job skills and work ethic.

“It makes us feel good, it makes me feel like I`m really doing something, not just someone giving it to me, I`m earning it,” said Zyveair Dorn, a Freedom Hoops Participant.

“I don`t have to ask anybody for anything, I can just make myself feel good, because I did it by myself... and I got it on my own,” added Jordan Fortune, another Freedom Hoops Participant.

As part of the Freedom Hoops program -- a group of kids --ages 16 and under -- are working at a fireworks tent at 3909 Mission Road in Kansas City, Kansas.

“We`re an urban basketball discipleship ministry where we use basketball to engage and disciple urban youth to fight the cycle of fatherlessness, hopelessness, and under resources,” said Michael Loney, the Executive Director of Freedom Hoops.

This program provides opportunities for the young men to learn employment skills, so this summer for the first time they are running this fireworks tent as a fundraiser for their basketball team.

“We`re selling and basically raising money to help fund our program, shoes, jerseys, tournaments,” Loney explained.

The group helped set up the tent and will help sell fireworks through July 4th.

“We have the opportunity to give them work projects, we get an opportunity to have success, not a lot of kids have success, and say, hey we did something, so this is something we can look back on and say, we`re incredibly tired, incredibly busy, but extremely rewarding,” said Loney.

“It`s preparing me for the real world, because you know, I`m a teenager so, we don`t really worry about the real world right now, but it`s going to hit one day, and this is definitely helping,” Fortune added.

“They`re giving us another opportunity, not just to play basketball, but to do more than play basketball, like coming out and helping other people, like we go to Harvesters and help the homeless and stuff like that, it`s bigger than just basketball,” said Dorn.

And along with business skills - mentors want the youth to learn interpersonal communication, financial literacy, sales skills, and to develop work ethic and perseverance.

To learn a bit more about Freedom Hoops by going to freedomhoops.org or this link.