Founded in the early 1990s as a summer camp, Rising Stars, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, dedicated to providing our youth with a safe environment to play, learn and grow, celebrates the opening of its first official home location in the former National Guard Armory building in Freeport, NY with a special ribbon cutting attended by brand partners, local dignitaries including Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy and Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé, student-athletes, and program executives. To meet the needs of the whole athlete, the 16,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility features an Academic Enrichment Center, two dedicated wellness and training rooms, and two regulation high school basketball courts. The complex will also be home to other youth and community partners, adult organizations and spectators, as well as special events throughout the year, with an anticipated exposure to over 50,000 people per year.

Aligning with the company’s spirit of value, innovation and giving back, Jovia Financial Credit Union, one of the region’s leading credit unions, has pledged to partnering with Rising Stars to provide both student-athletes and their families with financial literacy education. “Jovia’s goal is to be an active partner for Rising Stars in providing the financial resources and financial literacy education to help ensure our student-athletes are empowered and equipped to lead their brightest and best financial future,” said Jovia’s Educational Development Officer Christopher DiLeonardo. “We are committed to supporting our local communities, empowering youth, educating all on the importance of financial literacy, and building a brighter community that goes beyond banking. Jovia’s ultimate goal as a credit union is to make an impact that will last for generations. We strive to bring value and resources to the neighborhoods we serve.”

As part of the partnership, Jovia Financial Credit Union will be a brand partner and will host a series of ongoing interactive presentations on relevant financial literacy topics. In its inaugural presentation to sixth and seventh graders on February 5, DiLeonardo and Community Relations Officer Richard Tavarez used a basketball player’s salary to illustrate the importance of budgeting, as well as how to protect sensitive financial information. Jovia is partnering with Rising Stars on all levels and is also supporting the Rising Stars Scholar Program by providing mentorship opportunities for youth.

“Thanks to the strategic alignment of their mission with ours, Jovia Financial Credit Union has really championed bringing my long-term dream to reality,” said Rising Star’s Executive Director and alum Daniel Gimpel. “Having a physical space to call our own will be game-changing for our mission to provide much needed opportunity for today’s youth sports community. We are incredibly grateful to all of our brand partners and the ability to support more than 500 student-athletes to play, learn and grow. Special thanks to Orlin & Cohen for their support and commitment to helping our youth.”

The facility will break demographic barriers and bring together approximately 500 student-athletes from across the tri-state area. In addition to Jovia Financial Credit Union, Orlin & Cohen, Apollo Jets, Puma and Wilson have also partnered with Rising Stars to facilitate meeting the needs of the whole student-athlete beyond just the sport of basketball. The following local companies contributed to the Rising Stars grand opening celebration, which included an evening celebration with a disc jockey for the student-athletes: Jovia Financial Credit Union, Orlin & Cohen, Village of Freeport, Montana Brothers Pizzeria & Catering of Freeport, Gala Foods Supermarket of Freeport, Wilson, Puma, Echo Events NY, Smith Street Deli, Lemon Perfect and Sports Depot.