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Women of Dribble 4 Destiny leave lasting impression on AC Starz AAU girls basketball program

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher MARGATE — Sherri Odlevak started spinning a basketball on a rod during a demonstration as the AC Starz AAU girls basketball program hosted Odlevak and Lisa Cobb of Dribble 4 Destiny during an event at the Jerome Avenue courts on Friday afternoon. Not an overly impressive display from someone with such ball-handling skills — until Odlevak started extending the rod, about two or three feet at a time. By the time she had finished, the spinning basketball was suspended about 30 feet off the ground. The message was clear: aim high, and keep following your dreams even if the ultimate goal seems out of reach at the moment. The mission of Dribble 4 Destiny, according to its website, dribble4destiny.org, is “Athletes altering destinies.” Odlevak is a very accomplished athlete originally from Wisconsin. She was an All-American in track and field at the University of Wisconsin-Superior after winning the heptathlon as a senior. She also was the school’s Outstanding Woman Athlete of the Year for three years in a row. Since her time in college, Odlevak has spent time coaching as well as what she is doing now — traveling around the country, and the world, as a motivational speaker. She uses her amazing dribbling and ball-handling skills to capture the attention of audiences before delivering her message of leadership, community and confidence. “I’m a visual learner, so by doing visual stuff it puts the memory into the kids,” Odlevak said. “It’s really great. I just liked being with everybody. It was really inspiring,” said 13-year-old Megan Crawford. Added her friend, 14-year-old Victoria Clarke, “I liked it. It was really cool.” (Check out a photo gallery from this event at facebook.com/acglorydays) The AC Starz AAU program is run by Keith Fader, father of Atlantic City High School standout basketball player Ryan Fader. He also has a daughter in the Starz program. Keith Fader, parents said, does a lot to make the program about more than just basketball. For instance, the program raises money for scholarships for high school students and also has begun work on a toy drive that will get Christmas toys to less fortunate children in the area this coming winter. Odlevak enlists the help of an AC Starz player to demonstrate a basketball spinning trick. Odlevak enlists the help of an AC Starz player to demonstrate a basketball spinning trick. Odlevak, who has been doing dribbling demonstrations and motivational speeches full time for the past 14 years, said it is particularly important for kids in programs such as the Starz — who have very supportive families and assets at their disposal to become high level players — to reach out to less fortunate youth around them and do what they can through basketball to help those kids out. “It’s unique because there are gifted kids and there are kids who have lost their way a little bit, and if you can get the gifted kids to give back to the others, it’s spreads,” Odlevak said. “These kids aren’t going to have a problem because they have the support systems around them. But that’s not the case everywhere. If they can give back — and it’s not about basketball, it’s about something bigger — and they are doing it.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]

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