Boy With a Ball began as a vision in a parking lot in 1992 which exploded as a reality in a living room eight years later. In 2000 in a crowded living room in San Antonio, Texas a passionate group of mostly college students gathered each week in Jamie and Kathy Johnson’s living room to talk about growing in their faith, reaching their dreams and making a difference in the world. A handful of the group wanted to give the rest of their lives to helping young people which triggered a vision that had been birthed in Jamie’s heart walking out of an Orlando Magic basketball game years before:
What if you could build a team like a league of superheroes to help the city by dramatically reaching their youth?
In that instant, the vision for Boy With a Ball was born. In 2001, Jamie left his job to become Boy With a Ball’s Executive Director, the organization was incorporated as a non-profit and leaders began moving to San Antonio from across the US to do everything they could to see this dream come true.
After a clunky start, leaders like Beth (Hough) Hernandez, John and Candace McCarter and Christy Wooten saw a team come together of individuals drawn to the vision of working to help young people together while growing themselves. Over the next three years, the team engaged youth in schools, in churches, on military bases and on the streets. Slowly, the organization began to fill a void in local youth programs with a constant eye on developing solutions that could be scaled to help more youth.
At that time, most programs for youth focused on either attracting youth to a site or provided only a few hours of mentoring a month, diminishing their impact and funneling their dollars into a dead-end. As the organization worked with one young person, one family and one neighborhood after another, the leaders
continued to learn how to help as many young people as possible, as much as possible. Little by little, a powerful model was being born.
In 2004, the organization moved its headquarters to San Jose, Costa Rica to see that the developing approach could be effective outside of the US. In 2005, the organization defined their work around the TVOMS:C model as Boy With a Ball began working in slums and with teen prostitutes and street kids while mobilizing middle-income income church kids and students from Costa Rica’s most prestigious international school.
BWAB’s innovative team-based approach trained and released large numbers of motivated volunteers into some of the San Jose’s toughest neighborhoods. The power of presence, long-haul commitment and our willingness to learn from those we sought to serve birthed lasting fruit. Working themselves out of a job, by 2009, local leaders had been developed within Costa Rica to oversee the work. This led to original members of the Boy With a Ball team forming into Boy With a Ball Global, a global membership organization that identifies, equips and incubates social entrepreneurs in their own countries to build local organizations around the TVOM:C model.
This grassroots method has now been successfully replicated across the U.S., in Latin America and in Africa. Entire slums are becoming centers of change and development. Young people who used to be seen as victims have become leaders.
Simultaneously to the break throughs of developing the TVOMS:C Model and the Boy With a Ball Global organization’s development as an incubator of history making local organizations, Boy With a Ball witnessed the emergence of a growing, grassroots and global community of individuals, families, churches and businesses who have joined the work. These champions, catalysts, creative thinkers and compassionate movers and shakers have begun to change history together by contributing their own unique giftings to helping young people around the world reach their dreams. In 2015, BWABCON, an annual conference or gathering point was launched for this community of superheroes to come together to grow individually and to grow in the collective impact.
Together this group is working to see local Boy With a Ball teams planted in every major city of the world.