Who We Are – DC Blue Devils NH
The DC Blue Devils is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization with the focus of encouraging education and leadership through basketball. The DC Blue Devils – NH was founded by TJ and Ilima Thompson in 2013. TJ Thompson is a professional basketball player who has played in the premier leagues in Europe. He and his wife Ilima founded, organize, volunteer and coach these student athletes along with other coach volunteers. TJ has developed a reputation for his unique coaching approach throughout the national AAU organization and the New England basketball community. TJ and Ilima closely mentor many at-risk kids within the DCBD program. They encourage private schools and colleges to look at their student athletes, take the students on college and private school visits, assist them and their families with the application process, follow up with coaches and teachers regarding personal/academic conduct, hold them accountable for their actions and provide an ear, a ride, advice etc. in an effort to encourage a different perspective and show them that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
Although, we currently only have boys AAU teams, we have formed relationships with the top local girls AAU programs, giving us the ability to place some of our female student-athletes in high level exposure situations. In the last two years, the DC Blue Devils Program has placed 26 of our student-athletes in private academic institutions for the completion of their high school education. (See PRIVATE SCHOOLS page) All 26 young men and woman received scholarships, enabling them to take advantage of a situation that would otherwise be financially unfeasible. In addition, all of our 2017 graduating seniors have multiple offers from colleges which include:
One of the nicest things about this program is the return of our alumni to help with the younger students. With time, our alumni are becoming the role models the younger students so desperately need.
The DCBD family strives to help our youth become leaders on and off the court. Our program is based on the idea that we can use basketball to make our student-athletes educational and personal values top priorities. The players selected for this elite program must adhere to strict educational and personal conduct guidelines in order to be eligible to participate in the basketball clinics and teams. We require that all of our players maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and take part in community service efforts. We instill the importance of being a well-rounded individual, ensuring our kids are in the best situation possible to make attending college a reality. Our objective is to provide our kids with a safe and supportive environment to go after their dreams, further their education, and become productive and positive members of society.
Our program is made up of youth from all different walks of life. We provide scholarships for kids from low-income, single parent and immigrant families. However, we also have kids from families who support our efforts by assisting with rides, fundraising, tutoring and mentoring so that all DCBD kids can enjoy a similar experience and have a supportive environment as a consistent part of their lives. We pride ourselves on the relationships that our kids form regardless of age, class, race or location. Our motto is “WE ARE ONE” and we instill and expect that mindset from all of our players, coaches and parents. We believe in a united community and try to give our kids the life skills to learn from, appreciate and accept all different types of people and cultures. Our top priority is helping our players get to college. Many of the kids in our program will need these scholarships and aid to make college financially feasible. School comes first for DCBD members. We offer tutoring and mentoring to any student who needs help (basketball player or not) and offer co-ed basketball clinics and camps for those who are not ready, or just do not have the desire to compete at the more competitive AAU level.
We could not be more proud them and the efforts they made to better their futures. With your help, we look forward to many more of their DCBD brothers and sisters following in their footsteps.