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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Meet Jim Conway

Unlike social media influencers who build their reputations by posting on social media channels, Jim Conway has developed his influence primarily by meeting with parents and their children and orchestrating the best fitting colleges, trade schools, or other venues that will ensure the students’ future success.

Conway, standing six feet, seven and a half inches tall, is a commanding figure who has demonstrated his positive influence on the lives of many students, and their families.

“My motivation comes from the consulting that I do and have done,” declared Conway. “Conways Field & Court is designed to create a level playing field for all kids no matter their socioeconomic background. Our program helps kids to strive and thrive through academics first and athletics second and to then deliver a higher education.”

District Ties

Conway, who lives on Holbrook Street in Northeast DC, has fostered strong, binding relationships with many people in the District of Columbia and particularly East of the River. Some of those friendships developed because he often attended mass in Anacostia at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church (STA, 1244 V Street, SE) which is pastored by the widely known and respected priest Rev. Monsignor Raymond East, who Conway describes as “not quite my ultimate hero but definitely a rockstar!” He reserves the moniker of hero sorely for his late parents, Mike and Doris Conway. The elder Conway was a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy and his wife worked as administrative personnel.

Besides being a parishioner of the oldest Roman Catholic congregation in Southeast, Conway, 63, also joined the church’s fraternal organization—The Knights of Columbus—and particularly Bishop Patrick J. Byrne Council 3877. In addition to St. Teresa, Byrne Council represents three other local parishes in southeast. Conway will assume a leadership role in July by becoming the council’s Chancellor and third in command.

Jim Conway, ball in his hand, is playing power forward/center at St. Francis University and competing against Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas.

“Jim is one of those rare guys who grew up in Maryland but has a DC perspective. I call it Maryland-DC. He played basketball in a Catholic league and knows DC schools. That’s how he got his passion for athletics and working with young people. Jim knows everybody—veterans to businesspeople. He has that synergy to make good contacts and work with children who everybody else might have given up on. Jim turns chumps into champions and mere athletes into athlete-scholars,” said Father East, a prelate and former executive director of the Office of Black Catholics who has been pastor of STA for three decades (1988-1997 and 2006 to now).

It is appropriate that Conway encourages young girls and boys about their futures and the probability of being student-athletes. As a high school senior at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Montgomery County where he averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds per a game, he was recruited by several schools including American University and Niagara University. He elected to attend St. Francis University (SFU) in Pennsylvania where he was team captain in his senior year. He graduated in 1985 with a degree in Business Management. Most recently he was a client solutions specialist with Novitex Enterprise Solutions (formerly known as Pitney Bowes).

Student Athletes, Grateful Parents

“I am eternally grateful to Jim for helping Nehemiah find the right college,” said Tawanda Johnson about her 17-year-old son who is a senior at IDEA Public Charter School. “I met him while he was helping another student who attended E. L. Haynes [Public Charter School] about five or six months ago. He is such a well-rounded individual and simply a great person.”

Nehemiah, who resides in Deanwood with his mother, has been accepted to Garrett College in McHenry, Maryland on a full scholarship. It is a two-year junior college where Nehemiah will play on the basketball team while majoring in psychology.


After School and Summer Programs

Conway (www.conwaysfieldandcourt.com), in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) and DC Public Schools, has implemented a six-week summer camp at Randle Highlands Elementary School (1650 30th St. SE) that starts on June 24 and ends on August 9, 2024. The target audience is for youth ages 7-13 and the camp may have as many as 50 students. MPD will have four to six members on site daily when the students arrive at 8:00 a.m. and leave at 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Activities that are scheduled include baseball, basketball, and lacrosse. In addition, field trips will be taken three to five times a week to amusement parks, museums, and the Smithsonian National Zoo.

“[The summer program] seeks to develop life skills that children need to become responsible young adults. Positive role models and mentors will be provided. The kids will be engaged in a safe, fun, and productive learning environment without outside distractions,” Conway said.

James Conway (left) with Sergeant Sonja Flipping who works at the 6th District Youth and Family Services Division.

Meanwhile, Conway’s after-school plan is even more ambitious and incorporates MPD providing security between the hours of 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. A daily routing system will be prepared for each student in the program that is designed to help them achieve success in college, the job market, and all areas of life.

“We will provide them with soft skills—adaptability, communication, conflict management, critical thinking, problem-solving, resourcefulness, stress management, and time management. We will introduce new sports and new disciplines for each kid. Basketball isn’t the only sport. We will teach the fundamentals of the sport and not just play to play. Elementary and middle schools’ athletics don’t prepare our kids for the full array of high school sports opportunities. Many students are not exposed to baseball and lacrosse.”

Conway has influenced student athletes by “evening out the playing field and providing resources [in East of the River] like the affluent DC neighborhoods.”

Neither participants nor parents/guardians will have to pay for either program. Funding will stem from five sources: private donors, other nonprofits, local grants, fundraisers, and corporations.

Conway has proudly partnered with such corporations and organizations as Panera Bread, Missionaries of Charity, Velocity of Books, Habitat for Humanity ReStore/Rockville, and the Bellevue/William O. Lockridge Neighborhood Library in southwest.

He recognizes that parent involvement is sometimes low because of limited finances, work priorities, transportation issues, and health concerns. With this after-school program, Conway attempts to address every obstacle. His motto: “To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, or perfect. You just have to care.”

The site for the after-school program was still being negotiated when this publication went to press. Conways Field & Court, Inc. a nonprofit (public charity) 501(c)(3). Further information can be obtained by emailing Conway directly at james@conwaysfieldandcourt.com.

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