By Diamond Reid
Saint Peter’s Alumnus Cassir Bastien has been coaching basketball to students as part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program for the past three years. The after school program runs Monday through Friday throughout the school year at many sites including one at Public School 34 in Jersey City. At P.S 34, basketball lovers in the program have something to participate in, a basketball team.
Bastien has played basketball since he was a child and continues to play today at the age of 25. Because of this, he has chosen to take his passion and talents to the after school program.
Along with coaching his players throughout the week, every Saturday Bastien takes his team to Saint Peter’s to experience college life. His players are able go to the Yanitelli Center and play on a university court and he also takes them to the cafeteria and the game room located in the student center.
“I like them to get the experience of knowing what it is to be on a college campus. I want them to get the feel because some of these kids, they don’t hear college in their lives right now, all they hear is you know make it to high school and that’s about it,” Bastien said.
The children a part of this year’s basketball team are 7th and 8th boys and they are beginning to think about high school but, college career also. Having Bastien in their lives has proven to make a difference, maybe more than some would expect.
“Cassir is a very good dude, he shows us the way to success and he really wants us to make it in life,” one of his players said.
This program is more than about playing basketball, Bastien commits 90 minutes out of program Monday through Friday to helping his players with their homework and checks on their grades.
Bastien enjoys making a difference and giving back to these kids and accounts that he doesn’t see himself stopping this anytime soon.
“I really love these kids and I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world,” Cassir Bastien