By Shayla Reaves

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As part of Black History Month, all month long WCCO is taking time to introduce people making a difference in their community. On Thursday, WCCO’s Shayla Reaves met up with Terez VanPelt, the man behind TVP Basketball. VanPelt is using his basketball skills to teach kids and teens how to live a life of purpose.

Whether he’s having a conversation, attending a game, taking a kid to practice or just answering a phone call, VanPelt is there. He’s giving back, as so many gave to him growing up, putting in the time where it counts.

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“I definitely feel like what I’m doing right now is a part of my life’s purpose. It’s been in my heart for a long time,” he said.

For him, it’s ore than just a game. It’s a tool for changing lives. And the court is his classroom.

“My saying is, where there’s disadvantage there’s opportunity,” he said. “It’s so many things through the game of basketball that someone can learn — such as discipline, commitment, respect, getting along with others.”

Lessons start with a plan for every player.

“I believe that these players are just one mentor away from being successful or achieving their life’s purpose,” he said.

TVP (Tunnel Vision on Purpose) Basketball is a mobile basketball training business. VanPelt uses the sport to bridge divides, build community, and help Minnesota youth achieve their potential.

“I always was a natural teacher and a natural helper,” he said.

He credits his focus to his mother.

“She gave me a vision, you know, a vision outside of the circumstances where I was,” he said. “I come from an urban neighborhood on the south side of Chicago … There was a lack of resources and educational opportunities. So I want to be able to give that to players and at-risk youth.”

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Nichol McGill says she can see the impact he has on her daughter, Alivia. The high school freshman point guard began training with him two years ago.

“It just goes beyond basketball; he wants to train like the whole person,” she said. “He’s more than a basketball coach. He’s like a mentor.”

Her daughter said he’s also like a big brother.

“Yeah he’s my trainer, but he also takes me to places, he gives me good advice for school and just life in general,” Alivia McGill said.

Nichol McGill says she’s seen huge improvements, in “leaps and bounds.”

“She’s become so much more of an aggressive basketball player, really focused, really intentional and hold herself accountable,” she said.

VanPelt says he’s honored to be a part of these players’ journey.

“Their parents and themselves allow me in,” he said. “I just want to, honestly, just do the work.”

VanPelt has trained hundreds of athletes and says one of the biggest challenges is finding a stable place to be. Right now, TVP Basketball trains in different facilities. VanPelt says he’s looking for a permanent training space. He hopes to transition to a nonprofit and offer more financial literacy programs, mentoring, and career exploration opportunities for youth as well.

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Shayla Reaves