The Love Language of Basketball

“I wish I could play all the time,” said Mercy. “I love coming here and seeing my coaches and friends, and meeting new people.”

Youth in low-income communities are getting the chance to connect and build new skills through the Community Centre Basketball League.

“If I didn’t come here, I’d probably just stay home and watch TV,” said Emily.

Mercy and Emily are both 11, and come from different communities – Mercy lives near Victoria Hills Community Centre, and Emily lives near Kingsdale Community Centre. But they both agree – the Community Centre Basketball League is one of their favourite things to do. This free program, a partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University’s Kinesiology and Physical Education Department, provides several weeks of basketball training from volunteer coaches – some of whom are young adults from their own community. It culminates with a tournament at Wilfrid Laurier, bringing the kids together.

“I tell our student volunteers that the actual basketball skills are a secondary goal,” said Jonathan Moyer, House of Friendship’s basketball program coordinator. “It’s about getting them to see themselves as part of a team and to take pride in their community. Seeing positive mentors who attend university also helps them see that as an option for themselves.”

Jonathan said that many of the young participants often spend most of their time in their own community, because their families can’t afford to enroll in similar programs, or go on excursions beyond their neighbourhood.

Through the program, which culminated in a tournament at Wilfrid Laurier in March, they get to meet other children just like themselves, and expand their horizons.

For the kids, though, it’s all about the game.

“It’s really fun,” said Natan. “You get to play together with your friends, and everyone you know. It’s a great time.”

Your support of Neighbourhoods programs ensures that children like Mercy, Emily and Natan get the chance to flourish and grow and try new things, without experiencing the barriers that poverty creates. You are helping these youth envision a bright future for themselves – thank you!

Posted on: May 5th, 2023

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