Charity Spotlight 

Higher Learning Hoops

Higher Learning Hoops is a non-profit organization in the greater Jacksonville area. It is the mission of higher learning to help develop the next generation of leaders in the classroom, on the court, and in the community.

Coach Shennette Sparkes a former Division 1 basketball player at University Of North Florida. She started this organization to help motivate and inspire young athletes to reach their goals. In 2008 while playing basketball she was diagnosed with two types of Lupus. Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body.

Due to this horrible disease Sparkes was forced to stop playing basketball and fell in love with coaching.  In 2011 while working in a local school she realized that our students and student-athletes needed more support academically and athletically. At that time, not only was Jacksonville known as the murder capital of the United States, Jacksonville’s teenage pregnancy rates were rising, the number of those living with HIV/AIDS grew and Florida’s future prison pollution was calculated by the number of students who failed the third grade standardize test.  Noticing all these problems Coach Sparkes developed a solution for a dying community, known as Higher Learning Hoops.

Join Higher Learning Hoops February 20th, 2017 at Mathew Gilbert Middle School for the 3rd Annual American Dream Skills Clinic (ADSC). This event is for Hoopers in the Jacksonville area and surrounding counties who want to work on developing their basketball for the next level. Athlete’s will receive an evaluation on current skill level.  ADSC clinic will conclude with a guest speaker to motivate our youth to value the lives of others.  Register today at

American Dream Skills Clinic