Free basketball clinics at Chicago parks during summer; Nike partnering to offer Chi League Parks

June 8, 2013 3:18:42 PM PDT
It was a violence night in Chicago with at least 13 people wounded, and as the temperature warms up, the fear is that there will be more bloodshed.

Saturday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new partnership to help keep kids off the streets.

Parents and communities are doing what they can to keep kids safe this summer. Saturday, church leaders in Englewood highlighted the accomplishments of neighborhood teens to help show alternatives to violence.

And city officials offered up activities at neighborhood parks to get and keep Chicago's youth off the streets and out of trouble.

It was an Englewood many rarely see during a day of celebration as the community praised teens making a positive difference in the Chicago South Side neighborhood.

"I want the word to go out that whatever the challenges are we in Englewood are encouraging our youth to go to college," said Pastor St. John Chisum, Greater Salem Baptist Church.

For a 20th year, the pastors of Englewood held their community prayer breakfast and awards ceremony.

Quabeeny Daniels was one of six teens honored Saturday for their outstanding academic performance and citizenship.

An aspiring doctor, the Gage Park High School junior says the morning's ceremony shows there are good people and good things happening in Englewood.

"I feel like positive people like me don't get a lot of attention," he said. "They just focus on the negativity, the killings, and the robberies."

So far this weekend, at least 13 people were wounded overnight in shootings around the city.

One incident involved Chicago Fire Department paramedics who had to call for help early Saturday morning when their ambulance got caught in the middle of a West Side shootout that left two people critically wounded, but the paramedics unharmed.

City officials hope to curb by teaming up with Nike to offer free basketball skills clinics each weekend this summer.

"I hope this is a good thing to get me off the streets and having fun," said neighborhood resident Dione Mayfield.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the announcement while at the Columbus Park Field House on the West Side.

The clinics known as Chi League Parks will be offered in neighborhood parks across the city every Saturday beginning next weekend through August 10th.

The program means a safer summer for Jonathan McGee.

"Right here is a place you can be at playing ball to get you off the street," he said.

The Chicago Park District will host the clinics at various parks, accommodating 100-150 kids each week across the eight-week session.

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