Ozanam grew out of a historically well-known basketball program for children 8 to 18 years of age which was formerly sponsored by the YES, Inc. and previously the Ozanam Cultural Center.
Many of these children remained in the program until they ultimately graduated from high school. As a close, long-term relationship developed with the coaches, it was realized that this nurturing environment provided opportunities that extended far beyond basketball. The coaches became involved in the children's lives as mentors and provided assistance to make sure the children could eventually receive college scholarships. This group of young basketball players developed into disciplined, respectful young men who took school seriously and received college scholarships. Many emerged as some of the city's elite student athletes. The program became known as the "Future Stars."