Hope Agbolosoo with a group of his athletes in Ghana. Photo courtesy Hope Agbolosoo

Hope and hoop dreams give rise to foundation

  • March 19, 2021

If being positive is a calling in life, Hope Agbolosoo has certainly found his.

The 21-year-old from Milton, Ont., realizing his basketball dreams would not be coming true, turned to his faith to contemplate his future which led to the launch of a fitness company where he uses his passion and infectious energy to cultivate athletic skills and confidence in young kids. He’s since expanded on that, going international with his Project Hope and a goal of building basketball courts in communities across Ghana.

The west African nation was where it all began for Agbolosoo before he moved to Canada with his family when he was 10. His basketball journey began at Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School in Milton where in a short time his skills developed to the point he earned a spot on a very competitive school squad. By his final year, he was hoping for a future in basketball. But as many of his teammates were gaining scholarship opportunities, he wasn’t gaining the attention he hoped.

Feeling lost and heartbroken at what he thought was the end of his basketball dream, he turned to his faith for answers. He would walk down to Holy Rosary Church in his neighbourhood and, sitting on a bench outside, night after night, he poured his heart out to God. 

“I would pray but it would be more like a conversation,” remembered Agbalosoo. “I would just talk and ask why certain things weren’t happening. At the time I was very mad that everybody was getting what they wanted, but I wasn’t, and I thought it wasn’t fair. I heard nothing (from God).

“Then it just dawned on me that when you ask God for stuff or if you request anything, He’s not going to just give it to you. I realized that He’s going to test you and put you in positions to help you succeed.”

With that revelation, Agbolosoo got to work. He decided he would become a trainer and started Hope Fitness. It soon took off.

Then a family trip to Ghana during his final year of high school three years ago changed his life again. Through his connections with some of his old teachers, he was invited to talk to some school children about life in Canada and his work as a basketball trainer. The Ghanian youngsters loved the game but lacked the resources to develop their skills. He saw his next step in life was to launch the Hope Foundation.

Soon he built two basketball courts — one in his old neighbourhood in Ghana and one at his father’s former high school. 

“Going back to Africa gave me a purpose,” said Agbolosoo. “This is why I built my business, Hope Fitness, and why I became a trainer. I realized that that was my way of bringing my attributes and my skill sets to life.”

Through  GoFundMe, he hopes to raise enough funds to expand the initiative across the west African nation and beyond. So far it has raised more than $9,000. 

Back in Canada, people noticed a change in Agbolosoo.

“When he came back (from Ghana) he really was a noticeably changed person,” said Cailin Miziolek, one of Agbolosoo’s basketball coaches at Bishop Reding. “There was definitely a noticeable difference in his work ethic, his goals and his mindset. It just made me believe that this would really take off and that he’s not taking no for an answer in this situation.”

Looking back on his early days in Canada as a lonely kid with a thick accent trying to adjust to Canadian culture, he beams as he thinks how far he has come.

“When I moved here, I didn’t know anybody in my situation that could help me go through it,” said Agbolosoo. “I just wanted someone I could talk to about my problems that could help guide me through it. That’s why I want to be a positive beacon that tells kids that even if you come from Africa or have a weird accent, there’s a future for you.”

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