Given the amount of negative press the city of Chicago has gotten over the past few months, it’s refreshing to highlight those making a concerted effort to make positive strides in the community. Earlier today, the Chicago Park District hosted Mayor Rahm Emanuel alongside local hero and NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas to announce the expansion of Windy City Hoops. In addition to keeping kids off the street and focusing their energy into fitness, the community basketball program provides at-risk youth with jobs, training, and mentoring.
Despite the programs success, Windy City Hoops still needs support from the public to reach its donation goals of $480,000 to create new leagues in 10 city parks. This will provide an additional 3,200 kids between the ages of 13 and 17 to register in the program. CLICK HERE to lend your support before the Saturday, April 20, 2013 deadline.
Chosen according to high crime levels and low median income, the selected parks are spread across eight community areas. The year-round leagues will operate from 7-10pm on Fridays and 5-10pm on Saturdays staring in March.
“Keeping our streets safe is about more than just police work – it requires that we provide our kids with productive opportunities to learn team work and leadership skills,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This partnership will allow all Chicagoans to play a part in reducing the violence that is plaguing our communities by investing in programs that work.”
“I am happy to be involved with a program that will allow many others the same valuable opportunities that I had,” added Thomas. “I was taught to try and use the sports platform to go out and help others and better my community. I am doubly excited that this program will allow all Chicagoans to contribute to making these opportunities a reality for some of our most at risk-kids.”
For more information please visit cityofchicago.org/hoops.