Team Blaze Mission Statement:
Young people in our society deserve to have fair and equal access to high quality youth development programs. Team Blaze provides a safe and nurturing afterschool environment that is centered on character building, college preparation, leadershipand athletic empowerment. Members of Team Blaze receive academic opportunities and encouragement in STEM and Humanities courses at no cost to them. Through dynamic educational, mentoring and athletic programs, our middle childhood and adolescent members are wholly enriched both mentally and physically. We work tirelessly to fill in the achievement gap that haunts our nation’s middle and high schools and continue the journey with our students, supporting and cheering them on as they navigate the complexities of the collegiate world. We are mentors, coaches and academicresources for our members, providing a clear pathway towardscommunity improvement and the overall academic, economic and personal success for all Team Blaze student athletes.
Founded in 2012, Team Blaze is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, that seeks to provide young women and men of all socioeconomic backgrounds and talent levels a way to develop a passion for Track & Field and Basketball, compete at Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and U.S.A. Track and Field (USATF) sanctioned competitions, and most importantly, increase their academic standing and abilities. Our program was designed with the deepest hope that the student athletes who become members of Team Blaze athletic clubs will obtain tutoring services that otherwise would not have been available to them, compete at beginner and elite athletic competitions both locally and nationally, and give back to their communities through volunteering and becoming active, engaged citizens. Ultimately, Team Blaze members develop the academic, social, athletic, and financial skills necessary to advance to college and become successful adults.
There are four key components that make our program successful:
1. Leadership: The founders and coaches of Team Blaze all have a strong passion and desire to see the younger members of our region learn, grow as self-assured individuals and ultimately thrive both academically and athletically.
2. Education: Our “Reading and Racing” and “Books and Ball” initiatives ensure our team members receive academic tutoring from Middle School through their first year in college in the core STEM and Humanities subjects, test preparation for the SAT/ACT, SSAT/ISEE, NYS Regents exams, and proper nutrition.
3. Community: With an eye on community improvement and securing a bright future for young people, Team Blaze provides a safe, fun and family oriented space for our student athletes to participate in community service projects.
4. Athletics: Both Girl’s Track & Field and Boys’ Basketball provide avenues for students to acquire necessary life skills, master fundamental athletic abilities, learn the true meaning of being a good teammate as well as allowing adolescents to truly push themselves to their maximum potential.
As we continue to grow and expand, Team Blaze’s positive impact on our region’s youth and the community as a whole will also grow as we ensure that there is a safe, vibrant, educational environment that equips all young people, without discrimination, with the tools needed to both uncover their dreams, and accomplish them.
Who we are:
Oliver B. Levy Sr., Founder
Oliver has more than 22 years working with adolescents. He has Masters' Degrees in counseling and education. Oliver has been involved in youth athletics for 15 years. His experience and commitment to young people prompted him to start an organization to help children and adolescents grow in mind, body, and spirit. He has an unshakeable belief that all children, regardless of socioeconomic status, can flourish when given strong social, emotional, and educational support.
Kris M. DeFilippis, Director of Educational Services
Kris’ passion for helping children and adolescents has led him to teach English, Social Studies and GED/TASC courses at middle school through collegiate levels for over ten years. He has a Master’s degree in Secondary Education and is certified by the USATF as a Tier 1 Track and Field Coach. Kris’ love for Track has spanned twenty years as both a competitor and coach. The mission and vision of Team Blaze matches Kris’ strong belief that every child deserves the chance to develop a strong sense of self, leading to heightened academic and athletic confidence.