Texas Youth Advocates (formerly Sixerinc.) is a 501c3 Non- Profit Organization that works to positively impact Palestine and surrounding area youth.
The foundation of the organization began to materialize in the late 90’s. Back then there was a summer youth basketball team called the Palestine 76ers. The team was made up of primarily at risk teenagers from the Palestine community.
The team would participate in 2-3 tournaments throughout the East Texas area in the summer months and occasionally make a trip to Dallas or Houston. This program would ultimately serve as the catalyst for three future student athletes, the now Director of TYA's Sixers basketball program, a star NFL running back and the founder of Texas Youth Advocates.
The coach and sponsor of this team lost his bout with cancer during Jonathan Cary’s sophomore year at Rice, ironically across the street from his college campus in the Houston Medical Center. Thus the original name, Sixerinc, served as not only a tribute, but also fortification to the belief that sports can be used as a vehicle for change
Currently, Texas Youth Advocates does the majority of its work through the summer youth outreach program SIXERS Basketball. The program allows area youth to travel, visit colleges, businesses, complete a summer community service project and compete in tournaments throughout Texas as well as surrounding states.
Participants have traveled to places like Houston, Denton, Austin, San Marcos, Waco and Shreveport, LA. College visits have included the likes of Baylor University, Rice University and Tyler Junior College. Organizational visits/tours have included Deloitte Consulting LLP, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Houston Texas NFL Sport Facility. Lastly, members participate in community service projects which include providing local residents with lawn care services, keeping our adopted road clean for the city of Palestine or any other service that allows us to give back to the community.
The goal of the program is to serve as a medium for mentoring participants through life lessons, driving home the importance of education, and providing an opportunity to be exposed to experiences outside of East Texas.
The program operates on these three pillars:
Connecting with the Community – Community service activities/projects
Sports as a Vehicle of Change – College campus visits and organizational tours
Work Hard, Have Fun & Be Successful – Attitude and work ethic determines our wins and losses – not the scoreboard
The program has touched approximately 100 kids since its inception through the free basketball clinic held in the spring, East Texas 76ers traveling basketball team, as well as its summer community service activities. Current participants include athletes from East Texas.
In addition to our Sixers Basketball program, TYA has added other programs to try and get more youth involved and active while providing them with direction and guidance. Other programs include:
Westwood Little Dribblers which allows kids ages 4 to 14 the opportunity to compete and develop their basketball skills at an early age.
Sixers Club Volleyball which gives high school girls the same opportunity to as girls in bigger towns to become elite and impact volleyball players while learning about the core values of TYA.
Dogwood Youth Football which focuses on teaching the youth in the area the fundamentals of the football and how to work together as a team to reach a common goal.
H.E.A.T. which focuses on providing tours to higher educational institutions for local high school students.
TYA has plans to bring more programs to the area , especially educational and mentor type programs. We want to be able to provide programs that allow ALL kids to learn, grow and flourish at whatever their interest may be.