USA Basketball brings Open Court program to Englewood

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Encouraging open play in a fun and safe environment.

USA Basketball has brought its "Open Court" program to Englewood. So far nearly 400 kids have already hit the court.

Drop in, shoot hoops and meet new friends. That's the basic concept behind USA Basketball's Open Court program.

"It's a Safe Haven program to give kids an opportunity to play basketball. Given the things that are going on in Chicago this is the perfect place to play with USA Basketball certified coaches where they have safe environment with adults who are teaching them things about basketball and also giving them an opportunity to play pickup basketball," USA Basketball Lead Ambassador Marcus Spencer said.

Parker Community Academy is the host for this year's session and coaches say it was the perfect location because of the community.

"It was an opportunity and they have three gyms, a great principal who really has a reputation of really embracing the Englewood community. I wanted to work with a school that really embraced the community and Ms. Brown has been excellent in doing that and welcoming us in," Spencer said.

Parker's Principal Rufina Brown says beyond playing basketball kids are learning the true meaning of teamwork.

"Learning to be a member of a team. I think too often we don't know enough about working together and that's what this is teaching. No matter what our background is we're learning to do things together," Brown said.

Children ages 6 through 17 can participate and it's open to kids from all neighborhoods for free.

Many participants are excited for the opportunity to play and see the program as a safe haven.

There are four more sessions left, this week Wednesday and Thursday and Wednesday and Thursday next week. Parents can sign kids up onsite.

There are freebies and incentives for participating as well. For more information on that and the Open Court Program, click here.
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