Ryan McFarland talks Give n' Grow Basketball with SV Sports


About 4,000 elementary school students in Reading got a surprise visit from Lonnie Walker this month.  The former Red Knights star and current Lakers guard joined a virtual presentation by Give N’ Grow Basketball on February 16th.  Walker scored 1,828 points in his high school career and led Reading to its first state championship in 2017.  He joined the students in basketball movements and breathing exercises during the hour-long program.  Walker spoke to the kids about staying positive and the benefits of meditation.  “His heart is unbelievable. He really cares for this city,” said Give N’ Grow Basketball executive director Ryan McFarland.  The Holy Name and Kutztown University graduate described what Give N’ Grow Basketball is doing in elementary schools across the country.  “We elevate the mental, emotional, and physical health of kids through basketball. We love to incorporate basketball because it gets the kids excited,” explained McFarland.  Ben Cecchini founded the nonprofit organization five years ago.  McFarland, who resides in Baltimore, came to 16th and Hawk Elementary School last Thursday.  175 classrooms throughout Reading participated in the program.  “To be able to see 4,000 kids doing Give N’ Grow movements, it’s indescribable…This was such a beautiful and perfect event. We have so much more in store,” emphasized McFarland.  He gave credit to Tony Balistrere, his high school basketball coach at Holy Name, for helping to launch his career.  “He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and he always saw it,” said McFarland.  The Lakers and SV Sports provided prizes for the students.  McFarland thanked the Lonnie Walker Foundation for making this event a reality.

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