DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. - While schools, recreation centers, and cities are being forced to make cutbacks, Ali Sayed is thrilled to offer a place for boys and girls to grow.
The unique fusion of athletics and academics is what separates HYPE Recreation Center from the pack.
"With the threats within society that these kids are exposed to, it's our obligation, our civic duty, to ensure kids have these opportunities and outlets for themselves to excel," Sayed, the center's Executive Director says.
The grand opening of the Dearborn Heights center is finally here, and the moment couldn't have come sooner for Sayed. The process has been a long dream come true for the homegrown metro-Detroiter.
"I'm very, very confident that the community is going to be overwhelmed and my nervousness will become excitement," he says.
With the doors opening, and a successful community open house in the rear-view mirror, everything is coming into fruition. Even the name sounds great.
HYPE, or better explained, Helping Youth Progress and Excel, is a great title; but it's what's behind the name that has people in the community excited to lend a hand.
Former Michigan basketball star Jimmy King will help coach teams at the center. He's been involved in the setup.
"As a coach, you have athletes looking for places to go. Kids come up to me, asking me, 'Coach, where can I go?' I say I got a place for you, just wait," King explains.
"Now that time is here."
HYPE aims to help students grow in the classroom before they step foot on a court or athletic turf. Sayed says students won't be able to play until the child's daily homework gets started in one of the center's state-of-the-art classrooms.
A computer laboratory and library will aid the mental growth, and the center's goal is to help families grow together. The cost to join, for a family of four, is $60 a month.
"We only hope we're given a chance to help (boys and girls) become the leaders we need them to be," Sayed explains.
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