Written by: by Megan Moore, WKRC

A new program by BLOC Ministries aims to help local kids with their lives through sports.

BLOC Sports Performance on State Street is set to open soon.

For Jordan Bunch, the director of BLOC Sports Performance, this is much more than just training inner city athletes and helping them get into college. He hopes this will change the course of many kids’ lives.

Kids like Darion Thompson, “Sports motivates me. If you get me in sports, it could be basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, soccer, I played soccer when I was little, it just motivates me to do good.”

Darion was skipping and failing classes at West High. Darion needed to turn things around. One motivation was his grandma, Estelle. “When she died a part of me died too, because I still miss her. I thought to myself I’m going to do this for her.”

Jordan says, “He’s not a huge troublemaker, he’s a sweet kid but he just needed a change.”

Darion stays in BLOC Ministries’ EPOH House, a home for youth in need of guidance. “I asked them if I could move in because I started doing bad in school, now I’m starting to do good in school now because I’m here with them they started helping me out.”

He’s also in the Tribe program and will soon train at BLOC Ministries Sports Performance Center.

Jordan bunch started the programs not just to provide local athletes with professional sports training, but to also mentor and tutor them and offer spiritual guidance. “We’re going to use sports as sort of a hook or a doorway.”

Jordan volunteers as a strength coach at West High and Oyler High School. He saw many talented athletes coming to open gym at Oyler. “What I saw was the majority of them are unbelievably talented and yet, that were playing with us, the majority of them 17 and older did not graduate high school, children already, in and out of jail already, a good handful of them have already been shot. At the end of the day we want to help the entire family, not just the boy. So we start with the boy but then we kind of work our way into the family and do what we can for everyone.”

Most of the boys in the program will be referrals from juvenile court. Matt Messenger will also work with them. “It’s crazy to think that, what some of these kids, with this opportunity, what they will possibly be able to achieve.”

The goal is for athletes to earn athletic or academic college scholarships but more importantly helping these young boys become men.

Darion says if he doesn’t become a pro athlete, he would like to be a teacher or a chef.

Darion Thompson’s Story:

Darion has always been the quiet kid with a quiet smile. He just keeps to himself. Doesn’t seem to cause any trouble.

He’s been in and out of bloc since 2011. He would come play on the computers. Throw football. Play basketball. And honestly i don’t remember really having any issues with him.

After a few years of knowing him I started to go to his school and saw a different side. He was always in the hall I saw him at 3 of the 4 lunches I visited (he’s only suppose to be in one) he would see me and greet me with this sideways smile and look he knew he was caught and would disappear.

In November of 2016  I get a call “you need to pick him up” he was butting heads at home and school. There was something stirring and it wasn’t too sure what it was but after then the next day after the call he moved in.

We were going to the house and I asked “is it going to be weird living with me” and he shook his head no “thanks for being there when others haven’t been” and that was how his time started off at the house, thankful.

And I would love to say it was great and things meshed well but they didn’t we butted heads and we had conversations and we drew lines and made boundaries and I looked at him and asked “why do you want to stay here”

“I saw the changes in the others and I know I need change myself”

 

He hasn’t always known what he wanted but he knew he wanted something different. He has grown over the last 7 months. He has grown and humbled himself. He has pushed the line but he wants to be there.

 

I’m not sure what’s in store for him but watching him grow and mature. Watching him face problems. Watching him see disappointment. Watching him smile real big when he gets it. Watching him get quiet because something is off. I see some road bumps ahead. And that’s okay. I see some good things ahead. As long as he remains faithful, available, and he’s teachable.

He’s not the same kid that moved in

He’s not where he needs to be

But he’s moving forward and that’s a victory.