Free Minds Book Club member calls the BRP “some real-life stuff”

May 8, 2015

Below is a testimonial letter that I am proud to share because it shows the Born Ready Project’s potential to help change lives in a positive way.

Dave

Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, a non-profit in Washington DC that uses books and creative written expression to empower incarcerated youth at the DC jail, was privileged to have Dave Ungrady, author of the book “Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias” give a presentation on the importance of productive decision making to our April apprentices!

Free Minds apprentices are young men who have gone through all three phases of our program, Book Club, Continuing Support and Re-entry Support.  As part of our book club, they were youth between the ages of 15-17, charged as adults at the DC jail where we visited them twice a week to hold our book club sessions.  While in Continuing Support, we sent the guys books that they requested, our monthly newsletter the “Connect,” letters and birthday cards, and Re-entry Support that helps our released members attain job readiness, community support and educational resources.

Dave visited us and conducted an engaging and informative session incorporating facets of his real life experiences, a video presentation about the life of Len Bias as well as a well prepared power point presentation that kept our apprentices engaged and inquisitive!  One of our apprentices’, 17 year old Leon Epps, said “I really appreciated some of the things that he was teaching us, it was some real life stuff.” 

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Dave and apprentices of the Free Minds Book Club after his presentation.

Dave introduced our apprentices to concepts such as the varying degrees of decision making, tools to making good decisions and how the decisions they make impact them and the people in their lives.  One of the main goals of our apprenticeship program is to help our apprentices change their lives by changing their thought process so Dave presentation was a perfect fit! 

Our apprentices greatly benefited from Dave’s presentation, and when we conducted our post apprenticeship evaluation, we asked the apprentices to list the sessions that they enjoyed the most, and more than half of them selected Mr. Ungrady’s session as one of their top choices.  We are very grateful for Dave’s participation and have invited him back for another session during our next apprenticeship starting in June.

Keela Hailes, Program Manager

Free MInds Book Club and Writing Workshop

Born Ready Project Supports umttr.org 3v3 Hoops Benefit Tournament

May 6, 2015

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Since Evan Rosenstock took his life in May 2013, his friends and family have rallied to support suicide prevention and education. Most emphatically, the group started umttr, a community of young adults leading a movement to change the story from bullying, depression and suicide to a compassionate culture where every person matters.

umttr’s marquee fund raising event is a 3v3 basketball tournament, which will take place June 14 at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. The Born Ready Project is a promotional partner with umttr and has donated a speech to those attending.

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Dave Ungrady, author of Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias and the founder of the project, will speak at the event about the importance of good decision making. Books will be available for purchase.

The event will showcase 8th – 12th grade basketball players (coed), men’s basketball (under 50 and over 50), and feature celebrity appearances, speakers, politicians and a silent auction. Proceeds from the event will support student mental health and wellness organizations.

For more information, contact Susan Rosenstock at 202-679-6869, susan@umttr.org. Register here.

GoGrady Media Supports Capital Classic Hoops

April 7, 2015

The Capital Classic High School All-Star Game will take place for the 42n consecutive year on April 24, and GoGrady Media, along with the Born Ready Project, will have a presence at the event.

GoGrady Media is offering media consulting services to the event, helping primarily with media outreach. Further, tournament organizers will allow GoGrady Media president Dave Ungrady to sell his book, Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias, at the event. Proceeds from book sales will benefit the Born Ready Project’s Youth Leadership Fund, which support speeches about life skills to teenagers and young adults in underserved communities.

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When the Capital Classic was first staged in 1974, the game featuring Moses Malone attracted some 11,000 spectators at the old Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. At that time, it was one of only two national high school all star games. The other was the Dapper Dan Classic in Pittsburgh. The Capital Classic soon became the preeminent national high school all-star game. Over the years, it has featured such stars at Ralph Sampson, Len Bias, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, and LeBron James.

Over the last decade, the game has changed management and lost some of its prestige. But Bob Geoghan, the event founder, resumed control of the event in 2011 and along with DMV Elite is trying to revive its status as the premier national game for high school basketball stars.

The 2015 game will be played at Catholic University’s DuFour Center.  Click here for more information about tickets, etc.

BRP Safe Summer Speeches Set for Late July and Early August

February 6, 2015

Some three decades ago G. Van Standifer started a midnight basketball league in Prince George’s County, Maryland as a safe haven for teens and young adults. The program placed youth in a safe environment with late night basketball and mandatory education counseling, mentoring and personal development workshops.

The program started in 1986, the same year Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose. An extension of the midnight basketball exists today in Safe Summer, operated by the Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation’s Xtreme Teens program.

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And the Born Ready Project, developed from the book Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias, is proud to announce it will be part of Safe Streets this summer. In late July and early August BRP founder Dave Ungrady will make speeches at three community centers.  The date are as follows:

July 29 – Marlow Heights Community Center, Temple Hills MD
Aug. 6 – Kentland Community Center, Landover, MD
Aug. 7 – John. E Howard Community Center, Capital Heights, MD

BRPs Safe Summer presentations mark Ungrady’s return to the Xtreme Teens program. He spoke at six recreation centers in Prince George’s County during the winter of 2014 through Xtreme Teens.

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Dave Ungrady speaks to youth at the Columbia Park Recreation Center in March 2014 as part of the Xtreme Teens program.

 

The Safe Summer speeches are supported in part through the BRP’s Youth Leadership campaign.

For more information, contact Dave Ungrady at djungrady27@gmail.com, 703-282-5259 and Stephen Makle of Xtreme Teens at Stephen.Makle@pgparks.com, 301-446-3408.

 

GoGrady Media Partners with Loudoun Soccer to Produce Player Videos

February 3, 2015

February 3, 2015

GoGrady Media, with support from Loudoun Soccer, is offering a promotional video package for youth players. Players can use the videos to promote themselves to college coaches, assisting their efforts to play college soccer, and will be marketed primarily to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Dave Ungrady, founder and president of Grady Media and developer of the Born Ready Project, will produce the videos. Dave is an author who has vast experience as a multi-media journalist. He has done on air and production work for ESPN, CNN, NBC and Voice of America and produced Loudoun Soccer TV in 2013. Dave is also a professional coach with Loudoun Soccer, primarily as head coach of 03 and 05 boys teams and head coach of recreational all-star teams.

Players who use the service will be eligible to receive Born Ready Project counseling about ways to make good decisions.

For more information about the videos, contact Dave at dave@gogradymedia.com, 703-282-5259. To contact Loudoun Soccer, call 703-777-9977.

Born Ready Youth Leadership Tour Debuts in Virginia

December 27, 2014

The first Born Ready Project Youth Leadership Tour took place Dec. 2 at T.C. Williams H.S. in Alexandria, Virginia at its fall sports banquet. Born Ready Project founder Dave Ungrady spoke to some 200 athletes and their parents about the importance decision making for about 25 minutes before the athletes received their awards.

Here’s what William Campbell, a member of the Alexandria City School Board, said about the speech: “I wholeheartedly endorse the Born Ready Project, Despite our time constraints, Dave was able to present our group a truncated yet extremely powerful portion of the motivational message. We had two team coaches ask if we could have him back to do a longer presentation to their individual teams! We look forwarded to quickly having him back in the Alexandria community.”

The Youth Leadership Tour is supported by donations made to the Born Ready Project through its GoFundMe campaign. The next Youth Leadership Tour speech will take place early in 2015.

“Born Ready” Author To Write New Terps Books

December 27, 2014

Dave Ungrady, the author of the book Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias, has signed with Triumph Books to write his fourth book about the history of athletics at his alma mater, the University of Maryland. The new book, “100 Things Terps Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die”, is due for a fall 2015 release. It will be published by Triumph Books.

Ungrady’s previous books about Terps athletics include the best selling “Tales from the Maryland Terrapins: A Collection of the Greatest Stories Ever Told (2003, updated in 2014); Legends of Maryland Basketball (2004). In 1998 Ungrady’s self-published his first book, Unlucky: A Season of Struggle in Minor League Professional Soccer”.

Ungrady, president of GoGrady Media and founder of the Born Ready Project, was a member of two sports at Maryland (soccer and track and field) and was an all conference middle distance runner and track team captain. He is a 1980 graduate of the university.

 

 

Kirkus Reviews Lauds Born Ready Book

December 10, 2014

I’m very proud to announce that Kirkus Reviews, the gold standard for reviews of books by independent publishers, has released a positive review of Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias.

Here’s the subjective portion of the review:
“His dogged research, including his conducting new interviews and mining previously produced materials, has yielded a well-rounded portrait of Bias and those who are trying to make sense of his death. A cautionary sports tale that shows how one life unexpectedly ended can affect so many others.”

Here’s the full review.

Kirkuc_review_Ungrady_ Born Ready_ The Mixed Legacy Of Len Bias

RELEASE – Author to Speak about Legacy of Len Bias at T.C. Williams H.S. Fall Sports Banquet

November 26, 2014

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local Author to Speak about Life Skills as part of Born Ready Project

The T.C. Williams High School athletic department will offer a unique presentation at its Fall sports banquet next week. Local author and journalist Dave Ungrady will speak to the school’s athletes about lessons from the rich legacy of Len Bias and will teach them decision making skills.

The presentation, sponsored by T.C. Williams High School athletics and the Born Ready Project, will take place Monday, December 2 at T.C. Williams High School’s auditorium. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

William Campbell, a board member for Alexandria City Public Schools, helped facilitate the event. The event is funded by the Born Ready Project’s GoFundMe Campaign, which pays for speeches to students in underserved communities. T.C. Williams High School will not have to contribute any funds to pay for presentation.

Ungrady developed the Born Ready Project from his fourth book, Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias. Ungrady was a soccer player and scholarship track and field athlete at the University of Maryland in the late 1970s. A journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, among others, he is the author of four books on sports. For more information, go to daveungrady.com.

The book, published in 2011, has been approved by Prince George’s County School’s for use in its libraries, due in part to its messages of resilience and the importance of decision making. Those two topics are the focus of the Born Ready Project, which teaches life skills primarily to teenagers and young adults.

Born Ready books will be available for purchase at the event. All proceeds benefit the Born Ready Project.

For more information, contact:
STEVE COLANTUONI
T.C. Williams High School
Executive Associate Principal, Athletics and Student Activities
703-824-6860
scolantu@acps.k12.va.us

Dave Ungrady
GoGrady Media/Born Ready Project
703-282-5259
djungrady27@gmail.com

Nats Manager Williams Owns a Big Decision

October 6, 2014

Sports competitions provide an environment for some of the toughest decision-making situations. And baseball managers, more than coaches or managers in other sports, face more tough decisions on a daily basis. This is due in large part to the game’s heavily unscripted format . Players and coaches are forced to react to many twists and turns that unsettle the best laid plans.

A case in point–the Nationals vs. the Giants in game 2 of the National League Division Series Saturday night. After Nats starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman walked a batter with two outs and a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, Nats manager Matt Williams chose to replace Zimmerman with closer Drew Storen, who quickly gave up a hit that scored the tying run. The Nats lost in 18 innings and fell two games down in the best of five series.

Williams explains the decision in this column by Mike Wise in the Washington Post. You may disagree with Williams’ reasoning–I’m sure thousands of Nats fans do not approve–but you must give Williams credit for one thing, and that is owning the decision.

Owning a decision is one of the six tools of sound decision making. It’s important to embrace a decision that went awry because there will be lessons from that decision that will help in the future. And by owning a decision, even one Williams made that led to such high levels of disappointment for so many, you earn the respect of your peers and enhance your credibility.

In the professional world, few things are more important to securing a sound legacy and an admired reputation.