By Briana Aguilar
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
This coming Saturday, Feb. 20, between 9 a.m. and noon, fans will be able to watch the Durham H.A.W.K.S. basketball league playoffs at the Holton Center gymnasium in NECD.
Durham H.A.W.K.S. is more than just a cute name for a youth league basketball team, the acronym stands for Helping All Willing Kids Succeed.
Edward R. Boyd, Jr. and Derrick Barnes started the H.A.W.K.S. in 1993 as a way to provide their younger cousins with an athletic outlet.
Their original mission was to aid the positive development of African American boys. But as their organization expanded, they recognize that they have the opportunity to aid children of different ethnic groups, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
“We wanted to broaden our target audience as we were not simply interested in helping only Black boys and we wanted to emphasize the importance that the youth has to be willing to help themselves also,” said Boyd.
Children who want to participate must pay a $12 fee per season although they do not turn anyone away for lack of funds. They find a way to ensure that all fees are paid.
“We ask those that those who can pay do so, and we stress that it is a communal affair, and that we attempt to find funding sources to provide aid,” said Boyd.
Even though Boyd often contributes out of his own pocket, he does not want to be held up as a model because of his financial contributions.
Boyd feels that everyone struggles toward success together whether it’s overcoming finances, health or day to day issues.
“Sacrifice is a requirement, not an exception,” said Boyd. The teams uniforms are purchased from various donations they’ve received, including a lot of help from their coaches too.
“Everyone sacrifices. A lot of our youth sacrifice their time to participate as well as disciplining themselves as they are enduring our tutelage and the rigors of being a part of the H.A.W.K.S. family,” said Boyd.
Boyd has found that with word of mouth, the help of the youth and their parents, the H.A.W.K.S. are able to find sponsors to contribute to their cause.
“I never thought 16 years later, we would have FIVE teams ranging in ages 4-15 and about to start our inaugural flag football team,” said Boyd.
Boyd was born in Durham, but raised in Washington, D.C. He played sports all my life for various organizations and clubs. Boyd had starting getting into trouble, and athletics helped him.
“The athletic outlet aided me significantly in my maturation process and taught me a lot about life,” said Boyd.
“He’s a positive role model and it’s good for those kids to see something good; to see an African American male in a positive light,” said D.J. Huggins, NCCU junior and H.A.W.K.S. coach. “I’ve seen him buy pizza for his kids because he knew some of them weren’t going to have dinner that night.”
“I feel my life is closer to being full because of the service we have attempted to provide. I truly believe life is circular and what we are doing isn’t something that should be considered ‘out of the norm’ but just the opposite, a requirement in life,” said Boyd. “Any time parents or kids or others attempt to thank us I always tell them, don’t thank me, just do it for someone else!”
All games are open and free to the public. Games are played on Saturdays at 4:00pm at various gyms throughout Durham. Game and practice schedules can be found on their website: www.DurhamHAWKS.com.
“We really don’t know how we impact the lives of the youth we serve,” said Boyd. “I do know that working with the youth definitely adds to my life!”