In 2021, LISC Chicago’s Hoops in the Hood Summer Program served over 1,200 youththrough over 156 community events across 16 communities in Chicago. More than a decade ago, community leaders came together and launched the program as a response to Chicago’s violence.
The program reclaims public space and provides kids with a safe place to connect, play basketball and engage in other organized activities with caring adults and their peers. Every summer, participants form new friendships on the court, engage in friendly competition and create lifelong memories while engaging in healthy activities.
“After a tough year of being inside and distanced from our friends and neighbors, Hoops in the Hood Summer Program was brought back to life in 2021 as a safe public space became as important as ever,” said Meghan Harte, Executive Director of LISC Chicago. “Each year, we are thrilled to work with local community organizations to reclaim public space and build community around sports and connection.”
Each summer, with generous support from State Farm, Hoops in the Hood has fostered positive connections in areas where children are often kept inside due to the violence outside their homes. The reclamation of the community space has allowed for more relationships to be formed, more wonderful memories to be made and hope to grow within the neighborhoods.
“I really love basketball, but my parents don’t allow me out of the house to play past 5 PM because of the ongoing violence in our city,” said Gabriel Pagan, Northwest Side Housing Center Participant. “When I first asked them if I could go to Hoops in the Hood, they said no. I begged them and they came with me to week one. They saw that there were adults there and CPD officers, not just ‘policing,’ but talking and playing with all of us. That made my parents really happy and they said that I can keep coming back. This was the highlight of my summer.”
Hoops in the Hood has become a summer tradition; an integral aspect of community and youth engagement and, simply, a really fun way to make friends and get active. It’s bigger than basketball, the dedication and a passion for change has helped neighborhoods connect and transform.
About Hoops in the Hood
Hoops in the Hood, a sports-based, community safety initiative that creates safe spaces for youth to interact and build positive relationships with peers and caring adults while making visible use of public spaces and fostering a sense of community. The summer basketball program is currently in 17 neighborhoods, many of which block off “hot-spots” for games. Local control is a key part of the program. Communities pick the locations and times for the program and choose the activities. In some neighborhoods the location is always the same, while others move each week to a new block, Chicago park or local gym.
Over the years, more than 30,000 kids have participated in Hoops programs, learning leadership skills, social responsibility and teamwork, and thousands of other residents have coached, watched their kid play, danced, laughed or simply spent a night out with their neighbors.
About Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America — great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $20 billion to build or rehab 400,500 affordable homes and apartments and develop 66.8 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more information, please visit lisc.org/Chicago.