Coach Verne Brooks Jr. has been working for years to change how kids are introduced to sports basketball, soccer and other popular youth sports. He believes the right sports program helps build a child’s character, bring out their inner motivation, improve their communication skills and teaches them how to be a part of the team and the meaning of healthy competition.
Coach Brooks, originally from Chicago, was raised by a single mom who taught him the importance of hard work and an education. His sisters kept him grounded. He feels basketball helped him keep focused and out of trouble. His coaches taught him how to be a winner on and off the field. He started working with kids’ sports programs and loved the opportunity to help kids get a head start. He felt there were key lessons that were missed, so he created his own program called Rising Stars Development League.
Rising Stars Development League is a non-profit associated with the Children and Family Comprehensive Health Outreach and based in San Diego, California. Coach Brooks’ mom, Linda, and basketball celebrity friends helped him kick things off with a bang but just like many small businesses, they were hit hard by the shutdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Coach Brooks knew that kids needed sports to help them get through these stressful times. As soon as it was safe to do so, he started his classes but moved his entire operation outside. In response to this change, he said, “I want to keep everything outside if possible because now more than ever, kids need to be outside enjoying the sun and fresh air.”
Rising Stars now has partnerships with schools and community centers throughout San Diego and neighboring cities. This year they even added a league for adults. When asked about what makes his program different, he responded “Many programs are run by well-intentioned volunteers. We have real athletes with teaching skills specific to the age group of the class. Everyone is trained in the Rising Stars program and assists before teaching on their own. It’s important because the wrong program could discourage the child or have them drop out before they reach their full potential.” Instagram: @risingstarsdevelopmentleague