The sports program at St. Cecilia’s has been a near and dear to my heart cause in the neighborhood for awhile now and the fact that the On-Point Cyclones still have not been able to attract a business sponsor in the neighborhood yet really kills me. I know that almost all businesses give to a cause for tax credits and while all charities need help, I can’t understand why a company wouldn’t want to change their charity of choice to one right in their own backyard. Where they can see and experience their donations doing good work? Times are tough, but that’s when you need to really dig deep and help.

Here’s a letter I received from Rick today and the fact that St. Cecilia’s isn’t even being charitable to the team just makes me see how bad things really are. And it makes me question that priest over there, taking a 14 year annual event and then just taking the space away from them and making them lose money – it’s almost like the church is TRYING to run the program into the ground!

Hello my name is Rick and I am a parent of one of the top basketball players at St. Cecilia’s. Although the school has closed, the sports program is still there and going strong. And getting bigger each year.

I have been in charge of fundraising for the past 2 years and have to say it has become so frustrating to get no responses or be lied to by local politicians who say “The check is in the mail” and it never shows, that I’m ready to throw in the towel. But, I cannot.

We are one of the only sports programs that allows a kid to play even if they cannot pay. 3 out of our 7 teams went undefeated this year and won the CYO titles. Boys and girls. We now are on to our summer program which is the one who needs the financial help.

We get nothing – and I mean nothing – from the church since a lot of the kids and parents do not attend their church. So according to them we are the last people to get use of the gym. What does that matter, you ask? Well, if we try to hold a fundraiser, We are told “No, the gym has been rented out that night for a private party or a movie shoot.” And since we are considered a charity, OH WELL.

We do get to use the gym for 13 official CYO games per season because the priest is ordered by the Diocese. But any tournaments or other things we want to do we are told “No, sorry gym is booked”.

To give an example we normally hold the largest tournament in the boroughs, called March Madness, which is over 100 teams and we charge each team $100 to get in. They come from all over to play and we’ve been doing it for over 14 years. This year the priest decided he was very annoyed that we did not ask him to have it so he took away most of the days we had marked for the games and we had to drop more than half the teams. Can you calculate how much money the kids lost because of that?!

The bottom line is we need some sponsors I can honestly say Justine and her blog have been very supportive of our cause and done their best to help us.

Our team is in all the papers for now being 83 games without a loss! Can you imagine 83 games, we have played for 2 years in various tournaments all over the tri-state are and no one can beat us. We made the Channel 11 news last year on “Help Me Howard”, but again, got nothing out of it. Why someone or some company does not want to support us so that local kids who are great ball players and winning so much, really blows my mind.

Our summer program will cost us about $6,000 to keep open. That includes the fees for tournaments, uniforms, gym rental fees, transportation and whatever else pops up. Not one person is paid. All of us are volunteers. We run the AAU (Amateur Athletic League) during the summer where a lot of the kids travel to out of state colleges, when they normally otherwise would not be able to go and play against other teams from those states. We are looking to have 4 teams this year and I don’t think that’s a lot to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble.

So what we are asking is if you or anyone you know – company or individual – can
offer any help, please let us know. All donations are tax deductible, we are a legal non profit. Below is the team that has gone 83 games without a loss and a link to our site if you want to donate through the PayPal link or you can write a check and we will pick it up. You can email me at

On Point Cyclones Basketball | “Where Kids Come First”

Thank you in advance,
Rick Atson

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