Creating Young Minds shoots for success on and off the court

Mathis Crowder and Shira Ackerman, pictured above with some of the members of the Creating Young Minds Academy, provide personal and academic mentorship to young men as well as athletic development.

Mathis Crowder and Shira Ackerman, pictured above with some of the members of the Creating Young Minds Academy, provide personal and academic mentorship to young men as well as athletic development.


Shira Ackerman and Mathis Crowder established Creating Young Minds in 2011 to develop young men through personal and academic mentorship and intensive basketball training. 


Creating Young Minds is made up of two components. The first is Creating Young Minds Academy, a high school and post-graduate basketball team. The organization provides academic mentorship for players in the academy and requires each of them to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA—a standard Ackerman says is both met and exceeded by the players.


“With our guys, what we’ve always done is—athletics is one part, but academics is the most important piece,” said Ackerman, who has more than 20 years of experience as an educator. “We want them to learn the value of academics, because that’s what’s going to help you in life. You need to find something you’re very interested in and learn about it for when your sports are over.”


Since it was founded, Creating Young Minds has helped more than 70 of its members receive partial or full basketball scholarships to higher education institutions, including junior colleges and four-year universities. 


The second component of Creating Young Minds is Lewisville’s first-ever professional basketball team, the Lewisville Yellow Jackets, which the organization bought in July. 


The Lewisville Yellow Jackets are part of The Basketball League, which ranks as the third major professional basketball league in the United States. 


Now that Creating Young Minds has been expanded to include the new team, the high school and post-graduate members of the organization’s academy have an opportunity to play alongside professionals and the chance to work toward being signed to the Lewisville Yellow Jackets. 


Crowder, who serves as the organization’s president and director of player development, said he has seen firsthand how simply believing in someone has the power to unlock potential within them they sometimes did not know they had.


“The biggest thing with me is I see something in them that a lot of the people in the world don’t see,” he said. “When you have someone in your circle—your dad, or your family at home, or if you have a coach that believes in you—you can fly. You’re an eagle. You’re not a chicken; you’re not a duck; you’re not a pigeon—you’re an eagle.”

By Anna Herod
Anna Herod covers local government, education, business and the environment as the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village edition. In the past, Anna served as the reporter for Community Impact's San Marcos/Buda/Kyle paper. Her bylines have appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Hays Free Press and The Burleson Star. She is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


MOST RECENT

Dr. Molly Lopez is the director of the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health and also serves as a research associate professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. (Designed by Stephanie Torres/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Mental health expert talks emotional well-being, building resiliency for the 2020-21 school year

According to Dr. Molly Lopez, director of the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health, the upcoming school year will serve as an opportunity for students, families, teachers and school administrators to learn skills in coping, re-evaulate mental health protocols and build resiliency in challenging times.

Jules Design Bar
TABC change opens window for some bars to qualify as restaurants under state pandemic orders

Following a new industry guideline recently distributed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, more bars across the state may soon be able to qualify as restaurants.

The aging room is being prepared for business at the new downtown butcher shop. (Courtesy Bar-Ranch Steak Co.)
Bar-Ranch Steak Co. preps for downtown Plano opening and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The speed limit for frontage roads along SH 121 in Lewisville will be reduced to 50 mph beginning Aug. 17. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Speed limit changes for SH 121 frontage roads in Lewisville in effect Aug. 17

The Texas Department of Transportation found that Lewisville had a high crash rate on the roads, according to a release from the city of Lewisville.

(Courtesy AMC Theatres)
AMC Theatres to reopen Aug. 20 with 15-cent tickets

AMC Theatres—which has multiple locations in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas—will begin reopening its movie screens Aug. 20.

Smile Doctors Braces closed earlier this year at 2417 S. Stemmons Freeway, Ste. 105, Lewisville. (Community Impact staff)
Smile Doctors Braces closes in Lewisville

Smile Doctors Braces has remaining locations in Little Elm, Denton, Southlake and other areas in North Texas.

Signs in the window of the Stein Mart store in Frisco state it will be among the locations closing as part of the company's liquidation process. (Valerie Wigglesworth/Community Impact Newspaper)
Stein Mart Inc. files for bankruptcy, launches store closing process

Stein Mart Inc. has 281 stores in 30 states with locations in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Keller, Fort Worth and Flower Mound.

Paul Stevens has roughly 30 years of experience in municipal government and is the deputy city manager for the city of Rowlett. (Courtesy city of Highland Village)
Highland Village names new city manager

Paul Stevens will begin serving as the new city manager for Highland Village on Oct. 1.

Flower Mound's Town Council is expected to appoint an interim town manager at an upcoming meeting, according to an Aug. 12 release. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Flower Mound to seek interim, replacement town manager

Flower Mound Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos announced Aug. 11 that he has accepted a position as city manager with the city of Bedford.

According to the report, 380,174 total COVID-19 cases have been reported in children nationwide as of Aug. 6, which accounts for approximately 9.1% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
REPORT: COVID-19 cases in children increase by 90% nationwide in 1 month

As school district officials across the U.S. prepare for the start of the 2020-21 school year, 179,990 new COVID-19 cases were reported in children nationwide between July 9 and Aug. 6—an increase of 90%, according to a report compiled by The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

Route 21 and 22 will operate with a 30-minute headway during peak hours and a 60-minute headway during off-peak hours beginning Aug. 24. (Courtesy Denton County Transportation Authority)
Lewisville Connect to resume regular service hours in coming weeks

The Lewisville Connect Route 21 and 22 will resume pre-COVID-19 service levels beginning Aug. 24.

The University of Texas will host football games at Darrell K. Royal Veterans Memorial Stadium this fall after an announcement from the Big 12 Conference on Aug. 12 that the fall sports season will continue. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
After Big Ten and PAC-12 cancel, Big 12 announces fall sports season will roll on

The conference football season will begin Sept. 26, and fan capacity in stadiums will be up to each of the 10 member universities, according to the Big 12.