Friday, March 07, 2008
B-Ball League Celebrates Second Season
More from Case Manager Judah Zuger:
This past Wednesday we celebrated the completion of the second season of our basketball league. The championship game was a very competitive match between the NYCHA Youth squad and PBA (a law enforcement team that travels the country). We were worried some of our youth teams wouldn't be able to compete against some of the serious teams fielded by the NYPD - but in the end, the youth team ended up winning the championship game.
After the game we gathered for our awards ceremony. The award ceremony is where we break bread and congratulate our community partners. After receiving his award (A team jersey signed by all the officers and framed) community affairs officers Feliciano spoke eloquently "I grew up in the Bronx, I know the about the tension between the youth and the police, and now I'm a cop. There’s a lack of communication and lots of confusion. Basketball leagues like this help.” The idea of bringing youth and police together through sports and recreation isn't new: leagues like the PAL have been around for years. What our league seeks to do is build on that model while working closely with the youth to help them access services (educational, vocational, counseling etc.) The follow up is the key. Additionally, the celebration and award ceremony gives young people a sense of accomplishment which they need to gain confidence in an ever competitive world.
Edward Smithzer, an assistant coach with B.C.S. said “The young people see the way the officers carry themselves, and how professionally they played. The goal is for them to model that behavior." After all of the teams where presented with there awards we dug into dinner and had a great time hanging out together.