DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — One group is hoping to give kids in Danville the chance to get to know the officers that serve and protect their community.
It is called the Basketball Cop Foundation. It travels to different cities across the country to bring cops and kids together with a pop-up basketball block party. The foundation usually travels to bigger cities for the event, but organizers say they want to bring this opportunity to smaller cities for the first time this year.
The Basketball Cop Foundation was created after one cop’s experience in Florida when a video of him playing basketball with kids went viral.
Next thing you know , the officer was bringing basketball block parties to cities like New York and Detroit. But in 2020, the foundation is looking at smaller cities that face the same issue.
“Too often, kids in our community see police in a negative way, and this is a great way for police and youth to get together to do a fun event,” says Boys & Girls Club of Danville Director Rob Gifford.
Now, the Basketball Cop Foundation is coming to Danville in April to help build better relationships between youth and police. They are working with Danville police to organize and plan out the party.
“Those kids in our community see the violence that’s going on, especially juvenile crime,” says Gifford. “Unfortunately, their interactions with police officers are probably more along the lines of those types of incidents.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Danville says this opportunity is huge, and could really benefit the kids they work with.
“Sports is huge with our kids…they always want to shoot hoops,” says Gifford. “They always want to play different sports, and I think that’s an environment that helps them see police officers in just…a human light.”
Kids in Danville say they are looking forward to it, and are excited for a little friendly competition.
“Sports is a good way to communicate with other people that you don’t know,” says Danville 6th grader Jayde Buford. “I think it would be fun because…what if the kids would win if the police officers haven’t played in a while?”
Basketball cop foundation organizers say they will kick off this year’s event with a block party in Chicago first, then will follow up in Danville the next day. They are still working with Danville police to figure out a specific date, location, and other details.
The foundation says it will need help from local restaurants, businesses, and people who can donate items like snacks and drinks for the event.