ENVY, a youth violence prevention program here within the City of Hagerstown that works to facilitate collaboration of resources and efforts of various community partners who provide services to or engage with youth in the community, has started a very unique youth basketball league and is looking for our assistance. You may recall Chief Kifer and Danielle Staley speaking about this program at our recent HARC meeting. ENVY stands for Ending Needless Violence with our Youth, and this basketball league is really ENVY’s way to initially engage at risk youth. This league is called Crossroads Basketball League, because many of these youth are at a crossroads in their life and ENVY strives to guide them down a better, safe, and healthier path along their journey.
What makes this league different? It is an invitation-only league, with names of youth provided to ENVY through the school system. The focus is on those youth who, due to financial, academic, or other social barriers, cannot play in other leagues or for the school. This league will have a one hour mandatory team homework time prior to their regular practice to help with academics, transportation assistance provided through Community Action Council, it is completely free for the youth to play in this league, uniforms will be provided at no cost, we will have some assistant coaches and coaches with lived experience to act as violence interrupters and engage with the youth on a more one on one level should circumstances necessitate such. We will be having community resource providers involved with the program as well, with staff embedded in the stands cheering on youth and having organic conversations with families to establish trust that will allow families to feel more comfortable asking for assistance when they need it. It is expected that this league will serve as a launch pad for other programming that can be offered to youth in the community.
ENVY is requesting that the HARC/faith community “adopt” teams so that when your congregation’s team is playing a game then your congregation is there to do activities with younger siblings, provide hall monitoring services so kids are not running through the halls, and potentially assist with cooking and/or serving food to the youth that evening.
There are currently 5 teams established, with high likelihood of a 6th forming. So, we are looking for 5-6 congregations to volunteer to adopt teams. There would be typically one game per week for each team with a 2 week break during the holidays in December, with the season continuing then through March.
For more info or to help, contact Danielle Staley, Hagerstown Police Department, at 301-791-2638 or firstname.lastname@example.org.