When asked to describe the Bronx in three words Tracey Lewis, Kids in the Game Program Coordinator, thought for a couple minutes before saying, “needs more mentors”. From a non-New Yorker perspective, this answer didn’t surprise me. There is no lack in commentary of the “rough, lack of funding, lack of opportunity” side of New York’s most Northern borough. Unfortunately, often times we only hear that side of the story. Tracey is on a mission to write and tell another Bronx story.
Tracey was born and raised in the Bronx and is a The Bronx Wood School elementary school alum. He is currently leading Kids in the Game’s Bronx outreach program, traveling to elementary schools across the borough, educating principals on the Kids in the Game mission. For Tracey, giving kids the opportunity to be surrounded by positive influences is important; but furthermore, giving kids someone they can relate to in a positive way is vital. For that mission, Tracey is the gold standard.
From growing up in the Bronx, Tracey moved upstate to play point guard at Utica College. Although he described Utica as a “culture shock”, Tracey excelled both on the basketball court and in the classroom. He graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and was accepted to the School Counseling Graduate program at Mercy College. To not stop there, Tracey was also a graduate assistant basketball coach at Mercy and has interned with the New York City Police Department. Oh and did I mention he also currently coaches the Cardinal Hayes High School basketball team?
To say he is a positive mentor is an understatement and that does not even include his roles with Kids in the Game. He currently is the After-School Program Director at Mount Carmel Holy Rosary, an elementary school within the Partnership Schools system. The Partnership Schools consists of six Catholic schools that aim to provide outstanding educations to low-income students. Working with this population Tracey has provided further structure and mentorship to these growing kids.
And because Kids in the Game nor Tracey take the summer off, you can find Tracey busy at our Inwood Summer Camp as the Assistant Director or planning drills for a KING Hoops practice.
He might not have a favorite sports team, restaurant, movie, TV show or any other basic questions I asked him, but what he does have is a passion for kids and sports. He told me that his quote “best day ever” is a day where all he does is coach kids and nothing else. Now I don’t have kids, but if I did, I can tell you, I would be first in line to have Coach Tracey be their coach, mentor, and friend.