Grundy, Va - Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Virginia has been called a mini United Nations.
It brings in children from our region, across the United States and around the world. Most are escaping conditions that are unimaginable.
At the school, they have found not only a home, but a reason to succeed.
A few stretches and they're off. This basketball team at the Mountain Mission School is hitting baskets and making a name for itself. In fact, it was recognized for having one of the strongest schedules in the country, playing many nationally ranked teams including Oak Hill Academy.
Since most of the players come from around the world, being a team helps make up for being so far from home.
Kuba Mijakowski, from Poland, says, "We are kind of like brothers, like family. Everyone plays for each other. We want to win together, develop each other."
And that team concept and hard work appears to be paying off.
Pawel Mrozik, Coach, "It's our second year playing national schedule and we've been blessed to have good players that are developing and getting better every day."
Maleik Gordon, from Canada, says, "Being with the older guys, it pushes me to get better, back home it was more easy."
But the game is just part of what the coach hopes these kids get out of their time at Mountain Mission.
Mrozik, says, "We want them to be better players, to get to college and maybe play professionally, but that's not what we are all about. We want them to be better people, better character and develop spiritually.
The Mountain Mission opened in 1921 and over the last nearly 100 years, the school has provided more than 20,000 students with a home, an education, hope and opportunity.
Chris Slone, President of Mountain Mission School, says, "That's our mission in six words is to rescue kids, raise leaders and reach nations. We want to reach out to poor kids, raise them into leaders in society and have that go into all the world."
Ninety-nine percent of the students graduate and nearly all of them go on to college.
And that's a slam dunk when it comes to making a difference.
Four juniors were in the top 80 Virginia Match Up Showcase and at least one of the seniors at Mountain Mission recently signed his national letter of intent with Division-One Valparaiso University where he will play basketball and study engineering.
Learn more about the mission of Mountain Mission School and how you can help.