Shakeel Nelson and the Inner City Ducks are using sports in very innovative ways to reach young people and ensure they are on the right path in life. They provide mentoring, a safe space to play and learn, discipline, and exposure to new experiences for the young people in his community. The players have participated in tournaments in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Chicago, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. Eating in restaurants, staying in hotels, and seeing new places expands their sense of what is possible in their lives and teaches them life skills they will apply in adulthood.
In this interview, Shakeel shares his personal experience growing up without a father and candidly shares the challenges he faced. Shakeel explains his inspiration for creating the Inner City Ducks and how he sees the organization and its players growing in the years to come. Shakeel also tells us about the creative ways he is introducing his kids to new experiences and teaching them life skills while developing athletes hungry for success.
At the young age of 25, Shakeel volunteers four days a week to support the youth of his community as a coach, role model, and mentor through the Inner City Ducks. Shakeel’s vision for the organization is to serve 150+ boys and girls and to provide a community center where the kids can go after school to play, study, work out, and receive mentoring.