Terry proudly represents the Junction community. This neighborhood is
bound on the west at Brown Avenue, on the east at Division
Street, on the north at Dorr Street, and on the south at
Klondike Street. “It’s so important to me that people know
the area that I was raised in because there’s a
misconception that you will not have a promising future or
do good work in your community when you’re from certain
streets or neighborhoods,” explains Terry.
Terry is a graduate of Sylvania Southview Highschool (Go Cougars!).
After graduation he went to Illinois to pursue his football
career, earning his associates degree from Joliet Junior
College. Terry went on to attend historically black Tuskegee
University in Alabama where he earned his bachelor’s of
history and sociology, as well as the opportunity to win a
national football championship title.
The black college football national championship is a championship won
by the best football teams among historically black colleges
and universities (HBCUs) in the United States.
The Golden Tuskegee Tigers defeated the Winston-Salem State Rams, the
2000 CIAA football champions, in the 2000 Pioneer Bowl. The
12 - 0 win over Winston-Salem gave the Golden Tigers their
first 12 - 0, undefeated and untied season in the history of
football at Tuskegee University, making Terry one of the
only black college national football champions living here
in Toledo Ohio.
After college Terry worked in the automotive industry as a part of the
Human Resources team for Hyundai. Still, he stayed involved
and committed to community outreach and public work.
In 2000, Toledo’s Libbey Highschool Cowboys had great success making it
to the state playoffs with longtime boys basketball team
coach Leroy Bates. At the time, Toledo City Councilman Larry
Sykes and former Democratic Mayor, Carty Finkbeiner, asked
Coach Bates ways to keep the community engaged and out of
trouble during the summer months. Bates enlisted the help of
his two assistant coaches, Carlton Mathis and George
Mitchell. “They all put their heads together and this was
the start to our annual summer basketball tournament,”
The tournaments reduced gang violence and negative behavior within the
community noticeably decreased each summer. Sadly in 2014
George Mitchell, affectionately called “Uncle,” passed away.
It was at this time that Terry took the helm of the league.
Terry recalls saying to himself, “Basketball games draw everyone to one
place, at one time. We need to get our message and resources
out to the community at our tournaments.”
As the word spread and the popularity of the summer basketball league
increased, the tournament championship game aired on BCSN in
2015. After the game, an invested community partner paid
the local youth to clean up the park. The rest is history.
In 2016, The CPL established a city-wide cleanup program. “We pay kids
$5 per full garbage bag. During this self-funded summer
project we teach participating kids fiscal money management
every Saturday at 7 a.m. Kids also learn time management
skills, as they are expected to be on time.
“We often protest and march but no one ever shows the community how to
get the desired results. We inform every-day people with
effective means to create lasting change,” says Terry.
CPL’s co-ed adult summer basketball leagues are more than vehicles to
hone athletic skills. The league also serves as a space for
social-emotional development, providing a place for families
to share resources and tools. These tournaments are bridging
the gap between research and grassroots implementation.
Basketball is part of urban culture and lifestyle and community
involvement always leads the way. Adopting the “it takes a
village” approach, the CIty Park League believes the more
people are involved, the farther their reach.
The most successful movements often focus on breaking a “big picture”
issue into actionable goals. As an example, Terry shared a
five-step approach to reduce at-risk behaviors in
neighborhoods through family and friend outreach:
out who your kids’ friends are and with whom they are
relationship among said friends' parents.
conversations and bridge gaps.
children see you cultivate these new relationships.
young cousins, nieces, nephews and other family/friends.
The Six Degrees of Separation theory contends that we are all connected
to each other by six or fewer acquaintances. The truth is,
in the Black and Brown communities in Toledo the connection
is many fewer degrees than six.
“It’s worth it to contextualize steps that may truly help someone. So
many of us spend more time picking up our phones, than
picking up our youth. If we take it back to basics, we can
regain control of the senseless shootings,” says Terry.
Terry and his team created an acronym for the work they do: H.E.R.E.
Help. Educate. Restore. Empower. My Environment.
As a part-time host and eligible bachelor, Terry brings good energy and
a smile saying, “HERE ME single ladies, your presence is
also valued within our grassroots efforts.”
Let’s face it, both men and women play a vital role in family
communication. The City Park League believes parents and
community leaders have to model the behavior they want to
see from our youth.
“Us parents have to do our best to reduce the senseless shootings from
occurring. My young 14-year-old little homie, Royce Chatman,
was only a freshman at Start High School and was gunned down
last week. He would have turned 15 on April 5. This is the
fourth child under the age of 20 we lost this month in
Toledo to gun violence,” shares Terry regretfully.
CPL has hosted forums where children under the age of 10 have expressed
their fears surrounding gun violence in their schools.
Terry says, “I saw what the basketball tournaments did for
our community. I saw what it did for my life. I saw that it
saved lives. So we decided to try to utilize that as a
vehicle for change.”
They got creative by bringing the resources and services people in our
communities need to league basketball games. What is nice
is the City Park League connects people in a recreational
and leisurely kind of way.
Everyone has building blocks or steps they must take in their lives
before gaining overall perspective. So many young
people in our communities are addicted to pills and using
drugs recreationally. Kids are also struggling with the
virtual/hybrid schooling and the disconnection of social
interaction. In the Black and Brown community, social
interaction is a priority.
Terry is currently working with the Ohio governor's office on a template
for teaching de-escalation and confrontational techniques to
the community. “People don’t even argue anymore we just
shoot,” says Terry with a sigh.
A simple difference of opinion can lead to major violence. De-escalation
training is a must.
‘All the beautiful ladies make noise’, for instance, is an example of a
security measure MCs take to keep crowds engaged.
The City Park League’s youth programs also teach kids alternatives to
negative behavior and violence by offering both social and
personal development activities. The goal is to unite
efforts in areas such as education, housing, infrastructure,
jobs, public safety and others to create a holistic approach
to lifting the community. It makes sense to address these
issues in concert, “We listen to what people say they need,
and we empower them through community connection, to then
create their own solutions,” shares Terry.
The City Park League does a good job evaluating what's going on in our
neighborhoods, what's needed, determines where they can make
an impact, then they measure that impact.
The parents and adults play a big role in mentoring the youth.
Gun violence will be declared a public health crisis and will be tackled
in new ways by a new group. It’s called the Mayor’s
Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence.
Terry will be helping JoJuan Armour, coordinator for the Mayor’s
Initiative, to Reduce Gun Violence. Terry is helping Armour
focus on things like mental health and domestic violence,
and trying to address these issues before they turn into gun
The City Park League’s ideas emerge from the Black community, rather
than being developed for it by external forces. "We bring
community leaders together on issues important to us," says
Although preferred, in person activities are not the only ways to stay
connected to the City Park League’s events. Interactive
content is updated daily on CPL’s social media outlets
driving participation amongst both parents and youth. “I
try to keep it relatable,” says Terry.
What can the community do? You can help by volunteering because safety
is always a number one concern. You can also donate money
to help pay the kids when they participate in community
Bonding from shared experiences among the youth in our community reduces
bullying and violence. To participate or become a sponsor
follow Montrice Terry for community updates on Facebook @CityPark
League. All events meet social distancing guidelines and
best practices to keep families safe.
“When you work for your purpose, profits come. Profits aren’t always
monetary. Anytime I am acknowledged by my community it is
priceless,” explains Terry.
Terry was recently acknowledged anonymously by McDonald's #blackandpositivelygolden
campaign in March 2021.
Black & Positively Golden® is a movement to uplift our communities. To
help individuals and organizations take action to revive,
protect and strengthen our culture. To use education and
entrepreneurship to help build the next generation of Black
Excellence. And to tell stories of truth, power, and pride.
When asked how it felt to start the new year being recognized by the
McDonald’s corporation for his hard work and dedication,
Terry says, “I'm Loving it. Bhhad-Dup-Bop-Bop -Bop-Bopahh!”