CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — From basketball to track and field, local leaders want to combat youth-involved violence with activities for teens, something they say is lacking for many communities in Chesapeake.
Organizers like Barrett Hicks from the Tidewater Collection Alumni Association say it’s something that had a major impact on him growing up.
“As I came through Berkeley, we had recreation centers, we had churches, we had other organizations that came together and said, ‘OK guys, look. This guy is an athlete. You can’t do the things that the other guys do,'” he said.
Terrell Cuffee from the Campostella Square Civic League has been working with other community groups to create events to bring neighbors together to discuss issues, like violence, in their communities.
He says the infrastructure for these leagues, like community centers and basketball courts, already exists in most neighborhoods.
“But there’s no structured activities. Amongst others, you must give structure. You cannot just say let’s give them a basketball court and let them play,” he said.
One of the first proposed programs is a competitive track and field competition between neighborhoods.
“We want to do track and field within the communities, but that’s just the draw,” said Hicks. “We are surely here as mentors. That’s the common goal to any program we put together.”
Organizers say it’s about getting the community involved in the planning to make it successful.
“The programming should be geared around that particular community. That means you get the stakeholders must be able to come in and share, you know, I like double-dutch,” he said.
Another plan includes a basketball league with specific educational requirements.
It hasn’t yet received full approval from school and city leaders, but organizers say collaboration is key.
“The collective environment of looking at communities that are going through the same struggles is the key to changing the dynamic of what’s going on within our communities,” said Hicks.
Tidewater Connection Alumni Association is hosting “It’s All Connected Mental Health Day: Bringing Mental Health Professionals to the Hood” on Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through their Knowledge is Power Summits.