Casey Langel has been a part of PYB since its very first organizational meeting. In spring 2015 his father, John Langel, along with Mayor Kenney, Coach Dunphy, Coach Martelli, Coach Staley, Coach Ellerbee and several of PYB’s current board members gathered to plan the start of what is now our 23-month-old organization! Contemplating that first meeting, Casey remarked, “while sharing stories of our Philly basketball experiences, formulating a vision for PYB, and working to secure funding for a college camp something clicked, and from that moment, I was hooked! To hear the passion everyone brought to the table and experience the moment a fundraising breakthrough occurs was electric and I knew I wanted to be a part of it in any way I could.”
Casey grew up in a basketball family and some of his earliest memories were centered around the game. His mother and father, Jackie and John Langel (Chairman of the Board) were Casey’s main support system growing up, but one of the great influences in his life was his Godfather, Doug Collins. His way of sharing life lessons through the game (i.e. “Luck favors the prepared”; “Never eat asparagus, it’s what made Curly Neal go bald”; “Love the game and it will love you back”) had a profound influence on many players, including Casey. “Basketball has given me a lot. It has greatly influenced my life through positive mentorship and introduced me to some of my best friends that I would not have had a chance to meet if it weren’t for hoops.” As reflected in Casey’s experience, the impact sports can have on the lives of young people is one of PYB’s grounding principles and we strive to teach similar positive lessons to our student-athletes.
When asked what motivates him about PYB, Casey stated, “First and foremost, Kenny’s enthusiasm. His motor makes me work harder in my own job. But I’m also motivated by the goal of watching my own kids participate in all things PYB, and having them gain experiences that only the game can provide.” As a father to three young children, Quinn (6), Ryan (4), and Brady (1), Casey is excited to watch them grow and experience the transformative power of sports. It helps that his son, Brady’s, favorite word is ball! But, even if his children don’t end up playing hoops for the long haul, Casey, like most parents, feels that “at some point, in some sport/activity/class, they will encounter a coach/mentor/teacher that gives them confidence, opens a door to a new path, or inspires them in some way to realize their own potential. I hope that those moments happen as a result of PYB.”
In addition to being a constant advocate for PYB, for the past two year Casey has taken a leadership role in our Annual April Madness Fundraising Tournament. On April 8th, PYB hosted its second year of April Madness at the Palestra and raised incredible awareness and significant funding for our Collegiate Summer Camp Series Fund. Click here to read the full April Madness Event Recap.
Speaking from his experience after two years of organizing the event, Casey recalls a moment during the event that helped quantify some of the intangibles that PYB is working to instill in its student-athletes. “In the first year of the event, during our pre-tournament reception, a young man got a little bit of stage fright and struggled to communicate in front of the large crowd. However, this year, in front of an even bigger crowd, the same young man stood and spoke confidently about his experience. That kid’s growth, and the impact that his PYB coaches and mentors have had on him over the course of a year, made all of the planning worthwhile.”
Furthermore, for April Madness 2017 Casey enlisted the support his law firm, Genova Burns, who graciously volunteered to sponsor the event. With his dedication to the cause combined with the desire to host an event that both his firm and PYB would be proud of, Casey’s leadership was pushed to even greater lengths. “Thanks to the help of our entire committee, the hard work of MaryKate O’Brien and Diana Venezia, and the groundwork that we laid in year one of the Tournament, things went more smoothly than last year and the tournament raised nearly triple the amount of money to send more young people to the PYB’s summer camp series!”
More about Casey, Genova Burns & PYB:
Casey is an attorney at Genova Burns, LLC in the Labor and Employment, Commercial Litigation, and Higher Education practice groups practicing mostly in Philadelphia and South Jersey. He connected Kenny to the firm’s founding partner, Angelo Genova, as he shared a common vision with Kenny for trying to create a permanent home for the game of basketball in a place that has lacked hope for so long. “One thing I love about my firm is that Angelo Genova and the firm’s leadership have remained committed to having a presence in city centers. Not just obvious cities like Philadelphia and New York, but cities like Camden (where I practice), Jersey City, and Newark.”
In trying to lock in sponsorships for the April Madness Tournament it became apparent that some businesses take a “How does this benefit me?” approach. Conversely, Genova Burns believes that good work is good business, no matter what the immediate benefit our support may bring.
PYB is incredibly appreciative of Casey and Genova Burns for their continued commitment to our mission! Thanks to your support and the support of all our advocates we continue to push forward in our efforts to touch the lives of young people in the Philadelphia region and ultimately build our state-of-the-art facility in North Philadelphia.
By MaryKate O’Brien, Community Mobilization Coordinator