CHICAGO (CBS) — Four hundred boys and girls, multiple basketball courts downtown and a life saving mission.
On Thursday, the final game of the Hoops in the Hood Tournament was played.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams followed one team and the important work they’re doing away from the court.
Even on a beautiful day in Grant Park, among the games up and down Balbo, coach Jonathan Little has to take an urgent call.
“I received a phone call that one of my boys was shot,” said Little. “(It) never stops. That’s why our work never stops.”
Work at Hoops in the Hood and at Precious Blood Ministry in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, where young people learn life skills, carpentry and even cultivate a community garden in a food desert.
Mentor Joaquise King said more than a ton of produce is coming from this site.
“I’d say 2,200 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruits,” said King.
Add Precious Blood’s basketball team to the efforts to keep these young people away violence that’s consumed so many of their peers.
Savion Hill is 16. When asked if teens in his neighborhood get into trouble because of a lack of positive outlets, Hill said yes. “Because when you’re not supported by the positive, you go to negative.”
LaVelle Ingram is Hill’s teammate.
“He’s my brother, on and off the court. We’re with each other, all day, every day,” said Ingram.
Basketball and life. A journey they make together in a difficult place.
“To look at a friend and call him your brother, that’s love,” said Little.
Coach Little told CBS 2 the young man who was shot did not suffer life-threatening wounds.
As for the team, they lost their two games at Hoops in the Hood, but the outcome of the games is a lot less significant than the work they do.