Hoop Dreams Wednesday, April 23 & Friday, April 25

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

More than 100 urban youths between the ages of 11 and 16 are spending three days at WPI this week learning about collegiate sports and college life. For the second year in a row, Hoop Dreams, a community service program sponsored by the Friends of the Worcester Public Library and WPI, is bringing students from Girls Inc., Friendly House and the Boys and Girls Club to campus to see the movie Hoop Dreams (April 19) and to take part in a basketball clinic and a Lego Competition (April 23) and take part in free recreation and a mural competition (April 25).

"This is a great program because it exposes young people who do not have computers at home or may not have brothers or sisters in college not only to sports but to the resources of the library and to the activities, programs and challenges of life at a nationally recognized technological university," says William Baller, adjunct assistant professor of history. "This is an opportunity these kids don't often get," explains Baller, a member of the library's board and one of the organizers of the program. "Our goal is to help them enjoy their school vacation but, more important, to give them an appreciation for the importance of college life and, hopefully, to encourage them to set goals that will enable them to continue their education after high school."

"WPI is pleased to host the Hoop Dreams program on campus this week because it affords us an opportunity to expose youth from Worcester community-based agencies to the college experience," says Blanche Pringle, director of Minority Affairs and Outreach Programs. "As part of WPI's outreach mission to the Worcester community, we believe the earlier we can start students thinking about their prospects, the brighter their futures will be. We hope as the students visit our campus they can visualize themselves on a college campus someday."