Humber College student Hope Agbolosoo returned to Ghana three years ago, where he was born, and knew something had to be done to help young basketball players there.
The 21-year-old owner of Hope Fitness, who arrived in Canada when he was 10, said he noticed the basketball courts were in bad shape in the African nation.
“No traction on the court, and really unsafe,” said the Milton trainer who’s currently enrolled in Humber’s Sports Management course. He decided he was going to return to Canada to continue and use Hope Fitness to make a difference.
He returned to Ghana three years ago to run a basketball camp called Hope Fitness Without Borders. The camp was a huge success, with the help of teachers from different schools in the community. But, being back home made him realize that there were more ways he could help give back.
Agbolosoo raised enough money to build two new basketball courts, one in his old neighbourhood, and the other at his father’s former high school. That experience and seeing the impact it had on his community has inspired him to continue with this initiative, calling it Project Hope.
“I used to be that little boy that dreamed of playing the game and not only am I playing the game, but I am building a bridge to provide that same hope for others,” he said.
Since then, he launched a GoFundMe page for Project Hope, and is reaching out to media outlets to spread awareness.
Agbolosoo said he started his business four years ago intending to use it as a platform to “showcase and nurture athletes to bring out their full potential.
“I look at it like, ‘if younger me was looking for someone to look up to, would I look up to the person I am today?’” he said.
Since starting up his business, Agbolosoo has trained different athletes including former Miami Heat professional basketball player Kyle Alexander.
He said coming to Canada at the age of 10 was a huge culture shock; “I did not want to be here. I was worried about the language barrier and making friends…it was a huge change.”
Although he was worried about making friends, sports was his way of making connections. In Grade 8, his cross country coach suggested he should try out for the basketball team to see how he liked it.
He fell in love with the sport instantly, but a broken femur from a dunk in his final year of high school put his playing days on hold.
While going through his recovery process, a parent from his high school in Milton asked if he could train one of her children. Initially, he agreed but didn’t think much of it.
But demand for his training skills grew by word of mouth and before he knew it, he was training eight kids, and with that the spark to create Hope Fitness.