History & Vision

The foundation for New Heights was laid in 2001 when a public school teacher and basketball coach in NYC, Nick Blatchford, began to offer students the opportunity to play basketball in the school gym after-school and on weekends, if they first completed their homework. He quickly realized that basketball represented an excellent way to engage students who were struggling in school.

Recognizing the power of basketball as a hook, a pilot version of New Heights was formed under the umbrella of the Children’s Aid Society. From 2001-2004, this pilot program provided hundreds of students from Washington Heights, the Bronx and Harlem with an opportunity to play basketball and receive extensive academic support and assistance with the high school and college application processes.

New Heights became an independent nonprofit in 2005 and has been serving the New York City community since then. In 2009, New Heights relocated to Harlem to expand our programs in an effort to serve more student-athletes throughout New York City.

In September 2010, the organization welcomed a new Executive Director, Ted Smith, who has been involved with New Heights since its inception as a nonprofit. Since that time, in response to the increased demand for our programs, we have expanded our full-time and part-time staff, while placing an increased emphasis on education and the strength of our volunteer base and organizational partnerships.

As the organization celebrated our 10th Anniversary as a nonprofit in 2015, New Heights continues to focus on our mission to educate and empower promising inner-city youth to be leaders, champions and student-athletes by developing the skills necessary for success in high school, college and life.