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Fox Point family creates a basketball literacy program to honor son killed in elevator

Posted at 9:41 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 09:14:28-04

MILWAUKEE — A Fox Point family honors their son, Sam Waisbren, killed when an elevator malfunctioned in New York. The program they created mixes the sport he loved with learning.

Milwaukee Memorial Basketball Program

Sam Waisbren grew up playing basketball at the Northcott Community Center on Milwaukee's north side with his dad, Dr. Charles Waisbren, as his coach.

"He was on an inner-city basketball team for 7-8 years and learned so much about it," said Waisbren.

Sam went on to graduate from University of Wisconsin Madison and then moved to New York for a job. Two months ago, on August 22nd, as he was walking off an elevator in his apartment building, it fell, killing the 30-year-old. That tragedy motivated his father to honor his son's love of basketball.

"He had such wonderful experiences with it. We kind of wanted to recreate it," said Waisbren.

He is a doctor and he says he sees literacy issues in the community. So he decided to do start a program helping kids with reading, first, and then they get to play basketball afterwards. A former basketball player's mom with a background in special education, Alisia Moutry, stepped in to help design the literacy program.

"We will start off with a little bit of tutoring," said Moutry. "We are not only providing them basketball skills, basketball practice. But when it comes to reading and we work to provide you with a little support so that you are doing even better in your school setting."

The program is free for 4th grade boys. It is held twice a week at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, 5460 N 64th St, Milwaukee. All of it, funded by the Sam Waisbren Memorial Basketball Program comprised of donations from the community. You can call (414) 771-6900 to learn more about signing up for it.