Vonte’s Voice – Building an Empire – June 2017

Hello Friends,

Of course I am happy to be sharing with you this month what we are up to at Lost Boyz.  The season is well under way and off to a great start!  I have always had a big imagination that has been influenced strongly by television, everyone knows I am a tv show buff.  Lately one of my favorite shows has become Empire, watching that family build a dynasty from the ground up is the most intriguing part of the story line.  My take away from the show reminds me of a great saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. The same goes with the Lyons family in the Empire show, there was over a decade of investment and risk, with the matriarch ultimately sacrificing 17 years in prison so that the patriarch could build what would become a multi-million dollar family endeavor and solidify their spots as entertainment moguls. Once the Lyons solidified their spot as a major player, they began diversifying their portfolio.

Well that is exactly what has happened with Lost Boyz.  My spouse has sacrificed a decade of my time and attention so that our “Empire” could reach a point of solidification.  Our staff has dug in their heels and worked their fingers to the bone to ensure that we have steady success and stability.

As I look at where we are this year we are serving over 130 kids, up from around 80 last year.  We have opened our first office and hired our first staff, including an Office Manager, Program Coordinator, Lead Tutor, and multiple paid Coaches/Mentors. We have grown our teams from 6 to 8 to include two more girls softball teams, the 10U Baby Banditz and 17U Lady Lightning.  This has allowed us to include younger girls under the age of 11 and keep our high school aged girls playing.  We have won a national award and been recognized several times over in the media.

The teams are off to the best start in our history! The Banditz have lost 3 games, but like any expansion team the first year is rough.  The Lady Boltz are off to a fantastic start with 3 wins and 2 loses, although a mostly new team these 11 and 12 year olds are fast learners.  The Thunder has started 1 – 3, but last season the Thunder didn’t win until the absolute last game so this also is a sign of progress.  On the boys side the Reds and Patriots are on fire!  The Reds have come out the door 6-1 and the Patriots 7 – 2.  The Pats are the original Reds who are now 11 and 12 and we are seeing the years of investment payoff.  The Reds is partially rebuilt, but with strong veteran leadership they have managed to dominate the Minor Division of Rosemoor Little League. The flagship Patriots team is the GOAT Patriots team period. The Lightning are set to start their season up Friday night June 9th at UIC.

We didn’t get here over night, it has been due to the persistence of the kids, and commitment of the volunteers, staff, and Board, all driven by your generosity. Just look at our list of grantors, sponsors, donors, and partners, it is diversifying and growing. Success doesn’t come without it’s cost, like the tv Lyons family, our Empire faces it’s challenges and obstacles, like getting more of the community involved and collecting important information about the kids.  But also like the tv family, we are stronger together and always find a way to come out on top.

So as we continue our march to the Pennant we will also continue to fortify the Empire for the greater cause of violence prevention and youth development, we most certainly have our eyes on the prize.  Hope to see you out soon, in fact come out June 23rd and join us for Beyond the Badge, a bbq and family fun day celebrating and appreciating our 3rd and 4th District Chicago Police Officers that keep us safe at Rosenblum Park everyday.

See ya at the park and thank you for your support and friendship.  Until next month, ” Go Hard or Go Home!”

 

Yours in Service,

LaVont’e