Speak Up for Your Youth: Rallying for DRIVE Referrals


Ask an NBA player like Ben McLemore how they came up from a tough background to where they are today and nine times out of ten the answer will be because someone took a chance on them and advocated for the future they could have. When a coach refers a kid to our program, they are not just standing for that kid now – they are advocating for the potential impact that kid will make on the world in the future.

We are absolutely committed to finding and developing the potential of as many youth in our as possible – it’s why referrals are essential in our application process.

Our programs are designed for youth that will be future leaders, on and off the court. We require participants to provide letters from coaches at local schools or clubs and/or community advocates, as well as from a member of the DRIVE Team. Part of our 100% dedication philosophy is making sure from the moment a candidate interacts with DRIVE, they show a committed desire to succeed.

When a coach or a community advocate speaks, we listen. We want to know more about the exceptional player on the team, the one that plays basketball until midnight. Our referral providers are the people with their ears to the ground, out there in the field working with these kids, and we trust that if they are standing up for these kids, we can too.

When we look at the whole package of an applicant, these referrals are like gold – they tell us what these kids bring to the table, what hopes the adults around them have for their future, and how we can mentor and develop their lives.

A good referral is an honest assessment of where a kid is in his or her development. If you are a referrer, you know the strength and potential of your player or your community member.

Here are some excerpts from past referrals. We hope this can give you an idea of our expectations and serve as jumping-off point for what kind of letter you can write.

“Some of the passes, moves and decisions he makes leave me stunned for a moment and all I can do is smile and say to myself, “if he keeps working hard, he’s going to be very good… He has the charm, charisma and energy needed to become a great leader.” – Khalif E.

“He isn’t the most talented or even the most athletic kid on the court. But anyone who has seen him play will say he flat out out-works his opponents.” – Brett H.

“ I’ve seen glimpses of him helping kids out at our younger camps and think he could be someone, given the right direction, who could possibly come back and really make a difference. “ – Mike L.

We can’t thank these coaches and community advocates enough for making the difference in these kids lives by speaking out for them. As a voice for these youth, they have chipped away at the barrier that stands between our youth and their potential for achievement – their letters made a difference.

If you know of or coach a kid who you see fitting in to DRIVE’s programs, please don’t wait to speak up for them. Check out our eligibility requirements to make sure your player will be the right fit for the program. Then Email us at hello@drivemke.org so we can continue our work with the best and brightest of the Milwaukee youth