Rockets take at-risk kids under their wing
James 'Jimmy' Mitchell knows how quickly a young person's life can steer off course, so he's proud to wear the new Project Booyah uniforms during this weekend's QBL match.
The Rockets' captain was only 11 when both his parents died in a car accident just before Christmas, but he still thinks of himself as lucky.
"There are kids doing it way harder than I did," he said as Rockhampton Basketball unveiled the new uniforms.
"I had a community to rally around me and provide with a proper upbringing."
Project Booyah is a leadership program that helps young people aged 14-17 make better life choices.
Its new partnership with Rockhampton Basketball will offer opportunities, not only for participants to get more involved in sports, but to gain valuable business skills as well.
"I sense a wave of people realising that exercise and nutrition have a massive impact on helping people deal with stress," Mr Mitchell said.
"Getting involved in team sports can be expensive - my niece is raising money for a trip at the moment - but what you get out of it in terms of discipline is beyond measure.
"The focus is gives you to study and work you take everywhere you go in life."
Project Booyah's administration will move to an office on the Adani Stadium site where its coordinator, Joe Ramsay said participants would benefit from the outdoor setting on the river.
They will also receive the opportunity to gain paid work and business skills when Project Booyah takes over the canteen's operations.
This is an enormous step forward in a year when Project Booyah aims to grow its reach by partnering with local schools.
"We catered for about 20 participants per round since Booyah began in Rockhampton three years ago," Sgt Ramsay said.
"Cycling staff through the canteen during games, it's limitless how many kids we can engage."
However many that may be, Mr Mitchell is determined to give them all a helping hand.
"Kids don't try to do bad things but they mistake bad things as fun and enjoyable unless they're given alternatives," he said.
"Project Booyah's partnership with our basketball team is going to open so many doors for them and the players will be behind them all the way."