Late Night Basketball Gives Young Men a Shot at Success

It’s 11:30 p.m. on a cold Saturday night in January. The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Chicago seems quiet, but then a swish, a whistle and a cheer erupts in the gym, bringing the facility to life.

This is the Kroc Center’s Late Nite Flight basketball league, and one of the players just made a lay-up while being fouled. The fans either cheered or groaned. It’s a playoff game and the players are giving it all they can.

Late night basketball leagues started in the 1980s to provide alternatives for young men at risk of becoming involved in, or a victim of, violence. President Bill Clinton advocated for late night basketball as part of his anti-crime legislation and the Chicago Housing Authority offered a similar program in the 1990s.

What makes The Salvation Army’s program unique is it’s about much more than providing a safe haven. It provides a host of wrap-around services including weekly classes that focus on anger management and coping strategies, identifying and maintaining healthy relationships, employment-searching skills and resume writing, goal setting and more. Each of the 70-75 players in the league can also access the Army’s social service programs, including food pantry, emergency rent/utility assistance, counseling and more.

Read the full article here.

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