Summer hoop program a big success

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The Summer Madness Basketball tournament was once again a big success on the South Side. In its fourth year, the eight-week tournament recently concluded with the championship game at Brainerd Park. The Orange team, led by Ahmad Stark, Anthony Johnson and

The Summer Madness Basketball tournament was once again a big success on the South Side.

In its fourth year, the eight-week tournament recently concluded with the championship game at Brainerd Park. The Orange team, led by Ahmad Stark, Anthony Johnson and Chris Colvin captured the championship with a thrilling victory over the Green team before a jam-packed crowd that included NBA star Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers.

However, the Summer Madness Basketball Tournament, sponsored by the Chicago Area Project, the Teen Enhancement Network and the Institute for Positive Living, is about bettering the lives of young people in the Auburn-Gresham community.

“This tournament is not only about the game of basketball but also about teaching our young people about living a positive lifestyle and staying away from gangs, drugs and violence,” says Ray Gregory, the executive director of the Teen Enhancement Network.

“We want to save our kids from the mean streets of our city.”

Over 400 youngsters ages 13-19 from Auburn-Gresham and other surrounding communities took part in the program.

“We want to reach out to youngsters all across our city and teach them about living a quality life,” said Micheal Bolton of the Teen Enhancement Network. “The problems we face in the city aren’t just limited to a single community or neighborhood.”

However, the program didn’t end with the championship game. Throughout the school year, the Teen Enhancement network will be mentoring youngsters in schools.

“We let them know that getting a good education is a key to bettering one life,” Gregory stated.

Bolton said a big key to helping solve the problems communities face is getting older individuals involved.

“We had several adults take time out to help with a tournament and mentoring program,” he said.

“Too many times, we are seeking role models outside of our own community, and in reality, they are right there.”

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