Hoops on Mission is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that exists to inspire and empower youths in our community to be World Changers. Through hoops and mentorship, we give kids a sense of mission so they can be the best version of themselves and have a grand purpose for their lives.
Dwayne Jackson was a teacher when his two cousins were murdered in Fort Myers. He then became a missionary. And then, about four years ago, Hoops on Mission was born. “I needed to offer kids a way out,” Dwayne says.
Dwayne was one of the first members of the High Hoops league and played basketball at Mariner High School, where he earned All-State honors and finished his senior year averaging 32 points a game.
And Dwayne was the first person in his family to go to college and earned a Bachelor of Social Science and an Associate degree in criminal justice from Charleston Southern University. But that didn’t come easy.
“I needed to give kids something that was bigger than themselves, not gangs, not the street life. I wanted them to have hope for tomorrow.”
Dwayne grew up in a single-parent household in the urban area of Fort Myers, Fla., and both of his parents we in and out of prison.
“I was abused,” he says.
“I grew up like most of these kids. Basketball was my way out. Through basketball, I learned how to cope with a lot of things in life. I was always angry, but somehow I got out. I want kids to think, ‘Dwayne didn’t give up, so I’m not going to give up.’ Through my relationship with Christ, I can make an impact.”
Dwayne, who started playing basketball in fifth grade, is an example of how champions are made from adversity. His story has helped and continues to help open doors for others.
“I’m always thinking about those we’ve lost to gun violence,” Dwayne says. “Hoops on Mission helps change that culture. I’m changing their direction.”