The EDUCATED Ballers Association

Teaching More Than Just Basketball

My son is just finishing up his first season with the Educated Ballers Association.  Founded by Compton natives Chris Calloway and Joye Abney, the EBA has been running their spring program at the Salvation Army.  As both a parent and a community worker, I’m thrilled about the arrival of this new Compton basketball league.

There’s so much I could say about this program — they are excellent at teaching basketball fundamentals, they communicate well with the parents, they emphasize the importance of academic excellence and education.  They are truly a youth development program and NOT just a basketball league.  Whether it’s problems at home or struggles in school, this organization wants to help parents keep their kids on the right track.  Even the Saturday referees are willing to lend a hand with the kids and actually enjoy being there! The EBA is concerned not just about the kind of ball player they are creating, but about the kind of person that ball player is becoming!

Yet what I’ve been most struck by this season — as we’ve sat through evening practices and Saturday games, as we’ve bought raffle tickets and snapped pictures, and as I’ve observed hour after hour of interactions — is the way the coaches relate to the kids. These guys are simply fantastic with youth!  They expect a lot from the kids — they are strict, tolerate no disrespect, and they consistently hand out consequences when the kids step out of line.  They challenge the players to give their all, and they encourage every effort made.  They are positive, caring, and quick to praise.  And with that kind of commitment, it doesn’t take much to keep the players in check.

Our community greatly needs strong male role models who will both highly support and highly challenge our youth.  Even kids with fathers in the home need to look around the community and see other men “in the village” doing their part.  I celebrate the coaches of the EBA for being those kind of men.  By generously investing some of their free time into the youth of our city, they are reshaping the community our children are growing up in!  Their reward will go far beyond the wealth they could be pursuing instead — it will come in the form of a brand new Compton.  Our community shines because of the work men like these are doing.

If you would like to sign your children up for the EBA program, or if you would like to volunteer your time to this great organization, please visit their website at

6 Responses to “The EDUCATED Ballers Association”

  1. Tonya:

    You cannot imagine the excitement and gratefulness I experienced as
    I read your article and viewed the photo’s. What I am really appreciative and grateful for is that GOD ALMIGHTY, has truly put His Hand on this community service work.

    The icing on the cake is that not, only did the Founder receive supportive parents, but, He also received YOU! Your ability and gift to promote this work and program is just AWESOME!

    You have a talent that truly displays, character, discernment and most of all your willingness to promote the foundation of demonstrating what a “TRIBE” LOOKS LIKE!

    It is because of you that I know these things are all signs of Blessings from God Almighty.

    When Chris saw the site he started crying because his business venture and dreams have come to “FRUITION”!

    Thank you, so much for your support and you will never understand how much YOU mean to this program!

    Thank You, for your support and encouraging my young men to SERVE!

  2. tonya says:

    Oh Mrs. C — now you got me tearin’ up! ;) You of all people know that the quickest way to any mother’s heart is through her son! Your sons have certainly won my appreciation these few months by investing so well in my son when they did not have to. I keep tellin’ people that Zach would walk to the moon for his coach — cuz it’s true! This is just a small way of me being able to say THANKS! People need to hear about it when they have had an impact on others — you all have really blessed our family and we just hope to be a blessing right back!

  3. Craig & Evie Chapman says:

    We are so grateful to God for the many ways Tonya that you bless the City of Compton through your photos and journalism. You have a way of capturing and conveying the best of our youth and Spirit-filled leaders in our community.

    Thank you for another great and timely article.


    Craig & Evie Chapman

  4. John S says:


    This is heartwarming to read and see what works are being done in area that only a few years ago was considered one of the most dangerous in and around LA. I came across your post on Pixelated Images blog and I think that the work you are doing with this site is inspiring, not only to your community, but to other communities as well. I am adding a link to your site from mine in the hopes that it will create more traffic for you and drive others in the pursuit of passion for their own communities. Excellent work!

  5. Donna says:

    I got teary eyed when i saw the amazing images of men being loving, strong men with boys that so need to see, feel and touch the strength of what a real man is! I especially loved the intensity of the coaches while they were speaking into the lives of these boys… they are speaking life, strength and confidence into their lives.

  6. tonya says:

    Yes, Donna — it is quite a sight to behold. That’s why I had to write about them — their presence and commitment to the kids brought me a lot of joy.

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