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Fireworks and Free Throws - Changing the course of young men’s lives.

By Josh McDonald, Project Manager with Nexus 5 Group

Several years ago, the Freedom Hoops team lead by Michael Loney had a wild idea and took a risk. Something was "sparked" and they opened a fireworks stand.

This stand would have several purposes:

1) It would (hopefully) be a fundraiser to help support the program

2) It would give Freedom Hoops exposure to the public

3) Give another avenue to disciple the young men involved

Well, the event was successful and the stand turned a profit that first year. Young men within the Freedom Hoops community were given the opportunity to develop real life skills and work history. It went well enough to continue to give it a go. It now seems a staple of the Freedom Hoops summer.

Last year witnessed even more growth and was successful for the organization. Around two thousand people visited the stand on Mission Road, located in the Rosedale neighborhood. Young men were again mentored and discipled. They were given the opportunity to develop their communication and customer service skills as well as development of business-specific skills and they acquired a good work ethic.

Heading into fireworks season this year the team had high hopes.

They began by gaining four corporate sponsors for this year’s event. They also engaged families, young men, and volunteers. By the end of this year’s event, it had become Freedom Hoops’ best year ever!

Foot traffic through the tent increased 50% from the previous year while generating the most profit realized since the start of the fireworks stand! Growth was realized within the organization as well as within the young men working the stand.

Two local news broadcasts even carried stories on the organization and the event!

The risk that was taken several years ago is now becoming a sustainable resource for Freedom Hoops while developing young men off the court. Who would have thought that fireworks and free throws would change the course of young men’s lives? Michael Loney did. The Freedom Hoops team did. The sponsors and volunteers did. It just took one spark.

To learn more about Freedom Hoops you can visit them at

Check out a video of this year’s event

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