Hudson Valley Sports Report

Caval Haylett Fundraiser Draws Former NBA Standout, Boy Band Star

By Stefan Anderson
Special to HVSR

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Teen Resource Activity Center, also known as TRAC, has been a staple for the inner city youth of Poughkeepsie since its early beginnings.

In 1999, the Family Partnership Center was the host for the program that took adolescents off the streets and into the safe haven at TRAC, providing academic and athletic resources.

But like most extra-circular programs, TRAC lacks the proper funding to stay afloat.

“For the past few years we’ve had funding issues. For programs like this, once they close doors on these programs, they never reopen,” program director Dennis Dean said. “I told my CEO, before you close these doors you’re going have to close my foot in it.”

On Friday night, it was nothing but open doors.

The community responded behind Dean and the TRAC program as Franklin D. Roosevelt graduate Duke Paden of the NBA, former NBA standout Dennis Scott, Chris Kilpatrick of NSYNC and other supporters gathered at Union Tavern in Poughkeepsie to raise funds for the program.

A silent auction was held, and among the prizes were pieces of NBA memorabilia such as game balls, jerseys and autographed pictures of the draft classes from the past few years.

A plaque was made to honor the late Caval Haylett, the Poughkeepsie basketball player who was shot and killed earlier this year. The plaque was presented by Haylett’s mother and his brother, Cathis Johnson and Trevor Johnson, and his former coach Brian Laffin.

Dean, who started off as an activity specialist, has personally witnessed the growth of TRAC and in his native community of Poughkeepsie.

“The program is great,” he said. “You don’t have a lot programs in Poughkeepsie that cater to the needs of the kids.”

The program offers a wide range of activities that include a Summer Youth Employment Program, which gives teenagers an opportunity to gain work experience and job skills; an AAU program for 14 and 15 year olds to get the chance to travel and play basketball with the TRAC Panthers; and afterschool tutoring to help boost their academics.

“Once I got to meet Dennis a few years ago, I saw all the hard he put in and it was a no-brainer to work to get the kids as much as we could,” said Paden, who has done several charity events for NBA Cares, including one at the TRAC center with Felipe Lopez in 2014.

“The Teen Resource Activity is invaluable in what our kids need in the city of Poughkeespie. But I think we can make it even better by providing a lot more resources for funding,” Laffin said.

For more information on how to donate to TRAC, contact Dennis Dean at 845-452-1110 x3505 or ddean@familyservicesny.org

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