Whoever thought a small basketball tournament started in Ridgefield, CT could go on to inspire thousands of people and change the lives and futures of dozens of families all the way across the world?
In 2008, Nick Shoff, then an eighth grader at East Ridge Middle School, pioneered a small basketball tournament to help orphans in Africa as part of a social studies project with Mrs. Tyra. This basketball tournament, called JamQuest Hoops, raised about $2,700 and involved about 50 participants. As Nick went to Ridgefield High School, this movement began to grow. Hundreds of students and parents all around Ridgefield joined JamQuest’s dream to change the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya. By Nick’s senior year, they had raised over $20,000 and students from all the schools in the town poured in for one of “the biggest parties in Ridgefield” to play basketball to help those in need!
However, the dream didn’t stop there. Not only did some incredible students from RHS continue the JamQuest legacy for the next few years but JamQuest went on to raise over $60,000, be established in 7 different cities, help over 30 students in Kenya have the ability to go to school, and become a registered 501c3 non-profit organization! Nick has been able to speak to over 10,000 people at conferences, schools, and cities all over the world and JamQuest has inspired others to start their own projects!
This past summer, Nick had the opportunity to go to Kenya to visit the kids JamQuest and Ridgefield have helped over the last 7 years. It was a life-changing experience! Many of the students talked about how their lives have been radically changed, how they have a new-found sense of hope, and how their families have been supported. One of the students, Kevin, talked about how JamQuest had given him “a light to guide my path.” Some of the students have gone on to graduate high school, start their own businesses, and work for charitable organizations.
JamQuest is helping to break the cycle of poverty in their lives. None of this would have been possible without the amazing opportunity, support, and enthusiasm that the people of Ridgefield gave! JamQuest proves that power, money, age, and influence are not necessary to change the world! When you do what you love, and you do it to serve other people, miracles truly happen! Thank you to everyone who has helped! Stay tuned for ways to celebrate with us and help even more incredible young men and women in the future!
Check out JamQuestHoops.com for more stories and videos about JamQuest!
If you would like to be a part of changing the course of one of these student’s futures, go on our website and donate! Just a small donation can instill a life’s worth of hope into a child in need!
If you are interested in coordinating a JamQuest event in your area please contact Nick at JamQuestHoops.com.
On behalf of so many children in Kenya we thank you Ridgefield!