We all get our drive and passion from someone or something that has touched our lives. A great example of this is the founder of Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy, Shaun Jayachandran. His passion is making a dent in the 62% of children in India who drop out of school before the age of fourteen, therefore improving lives. He states:
“It’s always played in my head, of ways to do something else with the opportunities I’ve been given.”
As the son of two immigrants, Shaun has a great appreciation for this cause. His mother grew up as an orphan in India where she received a scholarship which enabled her to attend high school and then college. This story has inspired Shaun to provide similar opportunities to those in comparable situations.
In 2012 Crossover started out by partnering with just one school in India where they had about 45 students in the program. During his time there he stayed with extended family and reminisces about sleeping on a couch for that first trip, but he never let that affect his goal. While most of their budget was spent on flights, they saw the potential Crossover had even then. Their mission became about teaching leadership and character to the students, in addition to basketball skills. Over time they discovered that when kids participate in their two-week program it reduced dropout rates to less than 15%.
Now Shaun is the one inspiring others. He even cites one participant, Shane, who is now finishing college and coming to work at Crossover as a success story. Shaun sees 2017 as a year of growth and a time to continue creating hope for these kids. He talks about how they are also working to overcome the stigma of being seen as just a basketball program, and show people that Crossover is also a great platform for education.
They are using basketball as a vehicle for decreasing dropout rates, and reminding children that there’s more in the world than what they see in their neighborhoods. Shaun talks about the change he’s seen in the kids “they would even beg us to come in at like 6:30 in the morning to be a part of it, to get extra time.” By providing time and attention to these students they are truly changing their lives. They are opening kids up to different experiences and opportunities they would never have dreamt of otherwise, making the American dream possible on the other side of the globe.
Interested in learning more about Shaun and Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy? Check out their website for more information. In the meantime, watch Shaun’s full story unfold: