LaVonté Stewart Sr. was born on Chicago’s South Side at Jackson Park Hospital. He graduated in the top 5% from Our Lady of Peace Elementary School, Hirsch Metropolitan High school, and Chicago State University, all on Chicago’s South Side. Mr. Stewart Sr. earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in 2004, and then worked on his Master’s degree until illness struck his family in 2006. Mr. Stewart started working closely with troubled youth through baseball, and formed Lost Boyz Baseball League, which eventually became known simply as Lost Boyz Inc. Recently, LaVonté began working on his Masters in Public Policy at DePaul University while working in the office for a well-known State Senator. He currently resides on the south side with his fiancée and 3 children.
Cooper Thompson was born and raised on the north side of Chicago. He had a sheltered view of Chicago violence while attending grade school at Franklin Fine Arts Center during the late 80’s and early 90’s. Going to school just blocks from Cabrini Green, Cooper saw one of the most troubled parts of the city on a daily basis, but he was always able to escape back to his relatively crime-free neighborhood in Ravenswood. There, he didn’t have to think about the troubles of the city, and he found daily respite from the troubles of his peers. During 7th and 8th grade, Cooper took part in a recreational basketball league that played their games at Seward Park. It was only then that he began to notice the everyday differences between his life and the lives of people only miles away in the same city.
While attending high school and college, Cooper often drifted off society’s predetermined “path to success,” and it wasn’t until a massive seizure sent him into a coma that he found his own path. After his recovery began, Cooper realized that his limited experiences in giving back to his city were what had given him the most joy in life. He joined Lost Boyz as a coach at the start of the season three years ago, planning to donate six weeks’ worth of his available time. That plan quickly changed. Now, a few years later, he finds himself driving to the south side multiple times per week because of the love he’s developed for Lost Boyz, the admiration he has for Lavonte Stewart, and the inspiration he receives from all the young players in the program.