By Amanda Reilly
Throughout the summer groups of youth have been outside our local schools and parks shooting hoops, chowing down on hot dogs, kicking around a soccer ball, and just enjoying being kids. SWOP’s long-standing programs, Hoops in the Hood and PlayStreets have come to Chicago Lawn again this summer! On July 12, 2019 Play Streets was out in front of Edwards School with giant human-size Jenga, basketballs, face painting, and even Mickey Mouse. Parent volunteers supported the effort to encourage kids to get out and enjoy the summer months. Yoga and Zumba have also been available for the youth to enjoy during Play Streets. On August 2, 2019 PlayStreets and Hoops in the Hood combined their programming outside of Marquette School where the community was out and ready to have fun.
The goal of PlayStreets and Hoops in the Hood is to keep kids active during the summer and promote peace on the streets through sports. Hoops in the Hood has been bringing basketball to young people in the neighborhood on Fridays throughout the summer. During the first week of Hoops in the Hood 40-50 young men gathered to play basketball at Gage Park High School. As the summer has progressed Hoops has also been present at Edwards, McKay, and Morrill schools.
Additionally, as a part of this summer’s programming, nine student interns from the community have been working with the groups, six with Hoops in the Hood, and three with PlayStreets. The interns have been developing their leadership skills, engaging the community, and going door to door to let residents know about the programs. As summer is passing by, the fun is still going on. The Hoops program will have one last hoorah for summer 2019 on August 17th. SWOP’s Hoop’s program will have 2 teams attending the citywide Hoops in the Hood tournament, which will give the youth an opportunity to shine, display their talents, and show who they are. That’s ultimately what it’s all about: enjoying the summer, promoting peace on our streets, and giving kids a chance to be kids. If you’d like to know more about Play Streets or Hoops in the Hood please reach out to Carlil Pittman at email@example.com.