Former NBA pro devotes life trying to help kids in the Hudson Valley

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News 12 is taking a closer look at community leaders who are making a difference in the Hudson Valley during Black History Month.

Jim Bostic, of the Nepperhan Community Center in Yonkers, is a former NBA player who has spent more than four decades creating innovative programs that make Westchester a better place for kids - especially kids at risk. 

The 6-foot-7-inch Bostic says his entire life has been devoted to trying to help children or help anyone who needs a hand.

“Anytime you can share what you've been blessed with, with somebody else, it should bring you a sense of joy,” says Bostic.

Bostic has spent the last 25 years of his life at Nepperhan Community Center in Yonkers.

“We were just a program that only addressed the youth, now we address the entire family,” he says.

He transformed a once-small recreation center into an international agency that provides social services, mentorship and after-school educational programs to 30,000 children and families throughout the county.

“There's really no aspect of society we don't touch here at the Nepperhan Community Center,” he says.

In recent years, the NCC has gone global. It has spearheaded major cultural exchange efforts in Haiti and has built schools and developed programs in five African countries, including Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

“We've been given gifts, talents, abilities not for ourselves, but we are given them to share with the world,” says Bostic.

Before all the community work took over his life, Bostic’s first love was basketball.

Bostic was a local phenom during his years at Gorton High School.  He was a star at New Mexico State in the early ‘70s, and in 1975 he realized a lifelong dream when he was drafted into the NBA, culminating with a run on the Detroit Pistons during the 1977-1978 season.

Though Bostic lived out his dreams in the big lights, he soon discovered it wasn't enough and found a love for helping children.

He returned back to Westchester and made a career out of just doing that - working many jobs including being a teacher, a principal, a counselor and a basketball coach.

Perhaps Bostic’s deep love for helping children stems from his own upbringing. His biological mother gave him up at birth, and he was raised by a foster family who loved him unconditionally.

“It was amazing to me that people who didn't know me would take me in, treat me like one of their own,” he says.

So now he pays it forward, by making it a point to reach out and embrace those who society has cast aside.

“What I want my legacy to say and be is that his living was not in vain and that he helped a whole lot of people during his time on Earth. That's all,” he says. “I don't have to be known for anything else but I was a person who helped a lot of people with things in their lives and that to me is as much of a reward as I need.”

 

 

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