It all began in the hills of Novi Sad, Serbia, where 150 young people and a basketball brought about a new initiative. The U.S. Embassy in Serbia reached out to me to lead a peace camp in partnership with I Came to Play, a program aimed at promoting peace and unity in the former Yugoslavian region.
During my 26-hour journey back to the US, the idea for a non-profit organization dedicated to serving foster youth took shape. Since its establishment in November 2011, our vision has expanded to include a range of programs and initiatives, including sports clinics, trophy recycling, financial literacy workshops, a scholarship fund, and more.
I am grateful to the numerous volunteers and donors who have made this journey a reality. With their support, we have been able to impact the lives of thousands of young people who might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Founder and C.E.O.
The idea for our non-profit organization was born in 2011, during Shane's trip to Novi Sad, Serbia, supported by the U.S. Embassy in Serbia. With a mission to provide hope and support to foster youth in local communities, Shane took the initiative to bring his vision to life. In November 2011, he filed the IRS form 1023 on his own and successfully obtained 501(c)3 status, paving the way for the start of our organization's journey. The rest, as they say, is history!
After four years of making an impact in local communities across the United States, Shane joined forces with some friends to extend their reach globally. They planned a trip to help communities in need, and also to revisit Novi Sad, Serbia where the journey began. The trip was made possible through the generosity of family and friends who supported the mission through fundraising, ensuring that local resources for foster youth were not impacted.
With the growth of our programs and the increasing number of youth we serve, we sought to optimize their experience by refining our approach. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to introduce several new programs, including:
Our journey as a 100% volunteer-run non-profit organization has been nothing short of remarkable. With our sights set on the future, we're excited to continue providing valuable programs and resources for the youth we serve. In order to better reflect the scope of our work beyond sports, we've decided to rebrand ourselves as the Freedom Youth Foundation, stepping away from our previous name, Progression Athletics International. This change reflects our commitment to helping young people in all aspects of life, not just through athletic programs.