November 22 – Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined representatives of the Buffalo Police Department, the Buffalo Police Athletic League, the City of Buffalo Department of Community Services, the North East Basketball Club, and others to announce the 6th season of the popular Game Changers youth basketball program.The free, six-week program, which provides a fun, safe and productive way to spend a weekend evening, is open to boys and girls, ages 8 through 18. The goal of the program is to nurture athletic skills, while also equipping at-risk youth with tools to avoid negative behaviors.“This program is much more than a basketball program. The 200 participants will meet community leaders, elected officials, educators, and entrepreneurs,” Mayor Brown said. “Through Game Changers, these young men and women will be introduced to role models, and given a vision of hope and a reminder that through dedication and perseverance, anything is possible.”Over the past five seasons, more than 1,000 young boys and girls have taken part in Game Changers, which is funded through the City of Buffalo and Buffalo Police Athletic League of Buffalo (PAL), according the PAL Executive Director Nekia Kemp.
“Unlike other youth focused mentoring programs in the community, PAL offers a unique benefit—a police officer as a mentor and role model. This police presence provides numerous advantages, while improving relationships with the community and law enforcement. The Game Changers program also allows youth to not only participate in learning the game of basketball, but it provides youth with the opportunity to participate in workshops with successful adults from their community. These adults will encourage our youth to stay on the right path to achieve success!,” Kemp said.
Each of week of the six-week program has a theme, including Public Service, Character Development, Empowered Youth and Peer to Peer. Opening night will feature a visit from Mayor Brown, and special guests. The closing session will be a fun session of basketball games, pizza and snacks.
Registration for the free program is underway at the Delavan/Grider Community Center, JFK Community Center, Lincoln Field House, Machnica Community Center, Tosh-Collins Community Center, Hennepin Community Center, Asarese-Matter Community Center and The Belle Community Center. Deadline for registration is November 30, 2017.The Game Changers program will be held on six consecutive Friday evenings, from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m., running from December 1, 2017 through January 5, 2018, at the Delavan/Grider Community Center, 877 East Delavan Avenue, and The Belle Community Center, 104 Maryland Street.For more information about the Game Changers program contact the City of Buffalo Department of Community Services at (716) 851-4001.