Writing Their Own History
Basketball Star Cares For At-Risk Youth
From one side of the basketball court to the other, 47-year-old Tiffany Prunty has made helping children her primary mission throughout a variety of different careers.
During her time at Jamestown High School, Prunty first got noticed for her skills at basketball. She received an athletic scholarship to attend Morgan State University in Baltimore.
After she graduated from JHS in 1989, more than just the court called her to higher education, and she ended up graduating with degrees in sociology and social work and a minor in criminal justice from Buffalo State College. In 1996, she earned her masters in human service management and business.
She continued to call Buffalo her new home as she began work as the director of children and youth services and vice president of operations at the Bob Lanier Center for Educational, Physical and Cultural Development. She started working with at-risk youth then and has since never stopped.
Teaching fifth grade, running a commercial cleaning business and coaching girls’ basketball and track and field have all exercised different parts of Prunty’s skill set.
By far, the most life-changing decision Prunty made was approximately 10 years ago when she adopted three children, who had been left in unfortunate circumstances after their mother had died.
Prunty’s three children are now 15, 16 and 21 years old. She has one grandson and is expecting a granddaughter to be born in June.
“I was a resource for them,” said Prunty, who called it her goal to help them become successful and move on from the “bad news” of the past.
Prunty said that regardless of the hand that children have been given, they deserve a life coach and someone with whom they can develop a positive relationship. She thanked her parents, who encouraged her to work hard and achieve things through self-sacrifice, but she is also aware that many children do not have that support.
“I deal with a lot of the at-risk kids,” Prunty said.
From 1999 to 2013, Prunty worked as the director of children and youth services at the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers. Afterwards, she also became the executive director of the Delavan-Grider Community Center. She has also worked at TKP Cleaning Inc., the Buffalo YMCA and Northwest Community Center.
She also coaches at the Health Sciences Charter School, where she also works as a restorative justice program director. She also teaches introduction to sociology at the University at Buffalo and Medaille College through Upward Bound during the summers.
“I’m always doing something,” Prunty said.