The Mellon Foundation awarded $150,000 to Knox College for a research project entitled “Pedagogies, Communiti...
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At Knox, Jordan Rayner is on the men’s basketball team. He is also the co-founder and director of Ball4All, a nonprofit based in St. Louis that aims to empower athletes of diverse abilities.
Tell us about Ball4All.
Ball4All connects with the community through numerous types of activities and events in order to offer athletes a better opportunity for inclusion that might have otherwise been limited or nonexistent. We host an annual high school basketball All-Star game that consists of the top high school players from St. Louis and the Midwest. We have also partnered with and raised money for the Special Olympics and the St. Louis Rolling Rams Wheelchair basketball team. Ball4All also has a blog for athletes that allows them to offer a point of view that is not often considered by people that watch them play.
What motivated you to start it?
I started it in the summer going into my junior year of high school. What motivated me was the fact that there are so many kids with great potential in many fields that have it cut short either due to the environment they live in or the lack of opportunities. I felt like there was a way for me to make an impact and a change in my community. I wanted to show youth in my area that there are people here to help them that look like them and genuinely want to see them succeed.
What do you enjoy most about being a Prairie Fire student-athlete?
Basketball has always been a big part of my life, and it brings with it numerous workouts a day, many hours spent traveling and away from home, and many relationships that I will cherish forever. I really enjoy being able to compete at a high level and practice as much as possible, while still being able to have time and space to work on my interests such as Ball4All or class work.
Tell us about a memorable assignment at Knox and what you learned from it.
An assignment for my sports administration class from my freshman year was for each of us to create our own college or university and create a handbook for the student athletes that would attend that school. The project was very unique to me because it gave me the chance to create my own criteria for an organization and creatively design an athletic program that I thought could be successful. This was one of the best assignments I've gotten during my time at College because it allowed me to work creatively while meeting the basic criteria that was asked of the class.