Two and a half years ago Albert Varacallo had the idea to enter a team into a basketball tournament. I f they got in, they would be playing for the chance to win $2 million.
Varacallo and his team earned enough fan votes and were entered into the tournament. They lost their first game in the single elimination tournament, but what they gained was worth more than $2 million.
That team was the DuBois Dream.
The name is fitting because Varacallo knows all about dreams. When he was in elementary school, he dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. When he was in high school, he dreamed of becoming a lawyer. After playing college and semi-professional basketball an obtaining a law degree, Varacallo started dreaming of making a difference.
“I am just doing everything I can to give back to the youth, because I feel it is the right thing to do and I honestly enjoy it,” Varacallo said. “We live in an amazing community with some amazing kids, and I know if I can help them along and show them that Dreams can come true it is only going to benefit the next generation even more.”
That is what the DuBois Dream is all about. Helping the community and raising awareness for local foundations and causes. Over the past two and a half years, Varacallo and the DuBois Dream have helped raise money and awareness for the Dr. Albert Varacallo Foundation, a foundation that provides scholarships and assistance to families who experience sudden loss; Shea Mckinney, a local girl who was diagnosed with cancer; and the Challenger League Field, a field for children with special needs.
Varacallo’s dreams also include ensuring every athlete in the area that has thedesire to can play basketball, no matter what. In order to accomplish this goal, Varacallo started the DuBois Dream AAU Team. The program has teams for both boys and girls from the ages of four to high school seniors.
“I started it because it is something that has been on my mind ever since I started the Dream,” Varacallo said. “I think the Program is only going to benefit everyone in the community, because it gives every kid a chance to play who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play basketball.”
Along with the AAU team, Varacallo is also lobbying for a new sports complex in the DuBois area. It would be able to host tournaments, DuBois Dream games, high school playoff games, skill camps, and if the NBA expands, there is a possibility DuBois could be the location for that too.
“I also see the NBA turning into more of a Farm System like the MLB, and if we have a gym, a fan base, and a community that supports it (like we already do), I think the NBA would be crazy not to take a look at DuBois as a potential market for a Class A-AA Farm System Basketball Team,” Varacallo said. “Especially with our close proximity to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers.”
Most importantly, the gym would help increase area youth’s interest in basketball, something Varcallo has already seen increase.
Every Thursday night Varacallo would go to DCC and practice in the auxiliary gym. One night, a little boy found him and made his way into the gym. Varacallo stopped his work out and went up to talk him. After finding out he was more interested in baseball and football, Varacallo told him he was still welcome to come and watch the workouts.
After that, the boy became a regular. Not only did he watch Varacallo workout, but he also started staying after to work on his skills as well. Now, basketball is one of his favorite sports.
“That is what makes all the hard work worth it,” Varacallo said. “Just to see a kid being open to try something new and have a lot of fun doing it.”
For the third straight year, Varacallo is trying to enter a team into The Basketball Tournament. This year, The DuBois Dream will be playing for the youth in the area. For a new sports complex, an AAU Program, and for Grady’s Decision – an organization that helps and assists families of premature babies, the Arc of Jefferson and Clearfield Counties and the Dr. Albert Varacallo Memorial Foundation.
If you haven’t voted yet, you still have until June 1. Voting for is free and you only need your name, e-mail and date of birth to vote: www.thetournament.com/teams/dubois-dream.
“I just want people to know how grateful I am for their support,” Varacallo said. “The DuBois Dream has grown so much since the initial TBT Run in 2016 and it would not be possible without them. I know it is going to continue to grow because of our amazing community and I hope that they know I am going to do everything in my power to continue giving back through the team.”