On May 1, Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich celebrated a Unity Mass at St. Martin de Porres Church on the city’s West Side. The parish serves the West Garfield Park and Austin communities, neighborhoods that are among Chicago’s most deadly in terms of gun violence.
Cupich told the congregation that in the face of an escalating number of shootings and gun-related homicides, new opportunities are needed to fight the “hopelessness in the hearts of our youth.” His words did not go unheeded.
Maryville, a Des Plaines-based non-profit organization, has just announced that its Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) program will partner with the St. Martin de Porres parish this summer to offer a six-week basketball program for West Side children.
The new program will be called West Side H.O.M.E. Court Basketball Clinics. (The acronym stands for “Harvesting Opportunities for Motivation and Empowerment.”) The six-week program will be offered at Purcell Hall, 4300 W. Washington Blvd., in Chicago, starting on Saturday, July 2, 2016. Its primary goals will be to provide organized athletics for the Austin and West Garfield Park communities and offer a safe place for youth to play, learn and grow. Sessions will be held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon and the program is scheduled to run through August 6. Additional days may be added.
Students in 3rd through 8th grades are invited to participate in the West Side H.O.M.E. Court Basketball Clinics. Each session will include fundamentals training for different ages and skill levels. A small scrimmage game will be held each week to allow athletes to practice new skills.
“We are honored to be able to extend our CYO program to the children of the city’s West Side,” said Julie Fischer, Maryville Director of Development and Communication. “This effort embodies our mission of caring for children and strengthening families. The parish of St. Martin de Porres needs help and its residents need hope for a brighter future. Maryville is proud to be partnering with the community to keep kids safe this summer.”
One of the organizers of the new West Side H.O.M.E. Court Basketball Clinics will be Fr. Tom Walsh, who has been the pastor of St. Martin de Porres Church for almost three years. He believes that the children in his community desperately need an alternative to the gun violence and related traumas that impact their lives every day. “We are trying to create a safe environment that is fun for our kids,” Walsh said. “I think basketball represents an opportunity to help our young people see things we can do when we come together and work together.”
Families and children are invited to take part in an Open House on Saturday, June 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Purcell Hall, 4300 W. Washington Blvd. Onsite registration for the West Side H.O.M.E. Court Basketball Clinics will be available at the Open House. A $5 processing fee is required for all applicants. For additional information, please contact Scott Riley at 312-282-0219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1883 as a home for youth orphaned by the Great Chicago Fire, Maryville has a long history of helping children and families in their time of need. In addition to its CYO program, Maryville provides a Crisis Nursery and Children’s Healthcare Center on Chicago’s Northwest Side. In suburban Des Plaines, Maryville operates the Jen School, which provides academic/vocational training for boys, and a Family Behavioral Health Clinic that serves clients of all ages.
To learn more about CYO and its various programs for children or to volunteer this summer, please contact Kim Williams at 312-491-3534 or email@example.com. To support CYO with a donation, please contact Julie Fischer, Director of Development and Communication at 847-294-1950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.