Dallas nonprofit on a mission to positively impact young lives through basketball

A North Texas nonprofit is on a mission to help as many young men and women in its community as possible, through the love of basketball

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We take you to southern Dallas where a woman with a passion and a vision, is changing the lives of the young people she serves.

“I respect you. You respect me. We respect each other,” said Off Da Glass Squad coach, Yolanda Torrence before a game.

“These guys compete with heart. I mean, they wasn't afraid of anybody. They hit that hardwood. We got trophies, trophies, trophies from them competing,” said Torrence.

Torrence lays out a vision for success, not just on the basketball court, but in life. She’s giving kids, who in most cases are not on the right path, a chance to succeed. A chance to overcome barriers that get in the way of them realizing their full potential.

“And I figure I was the right person that was selected to come in and stay consistent with these guys, give them some goals, some admiration and some hope,” said Torrence.

Off Da Glass Squad was started 14 years ago. Torrence was coaching a semi-pro women’s basketball team in south Dallas, when she was offered what she now realizes, was an opportunity of a lifetime.

“She was like, Yolanda, I need somebody like you over at a school. I was like, huh? No, and she said, no, just give it a try for me,” said Torrence. “Just try it out for me and let me know what you think. She gave me a choice of about three schools, and I picked this school.”

It all started at Zumwalt Middle School, and from there, a basketball team was put together. Then the nonprofit, Off Da Glass Squad was formed.

The team hit the road competing in basketball tournaments from Tulsa down to Austin.

“I wanted to expose them to different surroundings. So since they had mad respect for the game, I wanted to put them on the hardwood every opportunity we got.”

“You know you have them interested in something. So you use that something to touch them to reach out to them and to guide them on the right path,” said Coach Darrell Alexander.

Alexander says coaching this young squad has brought him a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

“Once they realize, hey this person cares about me, I can tell them hey you need to go to class, respect your teachers. You can coach them harder when they know you love them, said Alexander.

“We are all in one community. It doesn't matter your neighborhood. We're one community and we all get along,” said Torrence. “So when you brand with Off Da Glass, any of our affiliations, whether it's your school, you conduct yourselves accordingly. We do allow them to be kids to a certain extent, but we definitely want some role models, some leaders in which we're hoping to develop. I tell people all the time. It's like, well, what did y'all do? What's your record? We're winning in other areas. I use basketball as the fun part to show them discipline.”

The non-profit took a big hit a couple of years ago when someone stole the catalytic converter off of their team van, which was the only transportation they had for the team.

They’re still working to get another van, so they can continue traveling and competing at basketball tournaments across DFW and beyond.

The Off Da Glass squad also wants to expand its reach and deepen its impact.

Learn more about the squad and how to donate at offdaglasssquad.org.

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