The City of Buffalo, the City of Buffalo Department of Community Services, the Buffalo Police Department, the North East Basketball Club and Buffalo Police Athletic League of Buffalo (PAL) have announced that they are running a free, six-week youth basketball program called “Game Changers”. This is the sixth year that the free program has been offered to boys and girls, ages 8 through 18. The objective of the initiative is to offer the city’s youth a safe place to play ball, while also focusing on “at risk” youth that are looking for athletic outlets during a time of year when it’s too cold to play basketball outdoors. This is a great way to develop ball skills, as well as tap into the required social skills to advance in various realms.
“This program is much more than a basketball program. The 200 participants will meet community leaders, elected officials, educators, and entrepreneurs,” Mayor Brown said. “Through Game Changers, these young men and women will be introduced to role models, and given a vision of hope and a reminder that through dedication and perseverance, anything is possible.”
Over the past five years, the program has seen over 1000 boys and girls attend the Friday evening sessions. “Unlike other youth focused mentoring programs in the community, PAL offers a unique benefit—a police officer as a mentor and role model,” said PAL Executive Director Nekia Kemp. “This police presence provides numerous advantages, while improving relationships with the community and law enforcement. The Game Changers program also allows youth to not only participate in learning the game of basketball, but it provides youth with the opportunity to participate in workshops with successful adults from their community. These adults will encourage our youth to stay on the right path to achieve success!”
PAL is currently funding this instrumental effort. Adding to the importance of the program, each session includes a “game changing” message, including Public Service, Character Development, Empowered Youth and Peer to Peer. The final wrap-up event seconds as a party, where the youth play ball, and are provided with pizza and snacks.
Registration for the free program is underway at the Delavan/Grider Community Center, JFK Community Center, Lincoln Field House, Machnica Community Center, Tosh-Collins Community Center, Hennepin Community Center, Asarese-Matter Community Center and The Belle Community Center. Deadline for registration is November 30, 2017.
The Game Changers program will be held on six consecutive Friday evenings, from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m., running from December 1, 2017 through January 5, 2018, at the Delavan/Grider Community Center, 877 East Delavan Avenue, and The Belle Community Center, 104 Maryland Street.
For more information about the Game Changers program contact the City of Buffalo Department of Community Services at (716) 851-4001.