Rayvon Griffith, the talented University of Cincinnati basketball player and former Oyler School attendee, returned to his roots at Santa Maria’s Joe Williams Family Center on Monday, January 29, 2024. The event, filled with hoops and Dunkin’ treats, served as a reunion as Rayvon reconnected with center staff and mentors and engaged with basketball players in our youth development program, reminiscing on his own journey from neighborhood courts and Santa Maria’s gym court to college stardom.
Rayvon’s visit held special significance for both current and former Santa Maria staff, many of whom had witnessed his growth firsthand. Reflecting on his time at Santa Maria as a young student, Rayvon once shared, “It’s a place where grownups show us love, compassion, and really care about us,” highlighting the impact of the center on his formative years.
Bri Wilson, Director of Santa Maria’s Youth Development Program, praised Rayvon’s positive influence, stating, “Rayvon exemplifies the positive impact our programs can have on the lives of young people. His journey reflects the core values of Santa Maria – providing a supportive environment where youth can thrive and succeed.”
During the event, Rayvon graciously fielded questions from aspiring young basketball players, emphasizing the importance of academics alongside athletics. Sharing insights from his own experiences, he encouraged students to persevere through challenges and maintain a strong academic standing. Rayvon’s dedication to giving back to his community was evident as he shared stories of mentorship and camaraderie, including his time playing alongside LeBron James’ son, Bronny James.
Rayvon’s visit served as a reminder of the power of mentorship and community support in nurturing the potential of youth. As he continues to inspire the next generation, his legacy of resilience and generosity will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the Lower Price Hill community and beyond. Jim Holmstrom, former Youth Development Program Director at Santa Maria, recalled Rayvon’s kindness and leadership, remarking, “This is who Rayvon is. I hope he makes it as a basketball player, but if he doesn’t, he’s going to be successful in whatever he does because he’s got a special heart.”
Full Question and Answer Session With Rayvon Griffith at the Joe Williams Family Center