Basketball used to inspire Springfield youth

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Local leaders and members of law enforcement are using the game of basketball to inspire and encourage local youth.

The Springfield Citywide C3 Shoot Hoops League started during the pandemic to help tackle the isolation being faced by kids working remotely. On Wednesday, the volunteer coaches and kids came together for an awards ceremony.

The program focused on kids in specific communities in Springfield.

“There was a higher crime in these neighborhoods, Mason Square, the South End, the North End, and Forest Park. So figuring if we can engage these youth and families and get them to do more positive things then maybe we can make the community safer. So that’s really what it’s all about, just building kids up,” Eddie Caisse, from the Hampden County’s Sherriff’s Department said.

The coaches and kids would meet virtually, using basketball as a platform for education and encouragement. And reminding them that Springfield is where the game all began.

“So the possibilities are endless and we just want the young people to know how much we care about them, we need them to succeed just like James Naismith, *maybe they can change the world. A lot of good things to come,” Paul Lambert, from the Basketball of Fame, said.

The future of the program includes setting in-person leagues in the four C3 neighborhoods.

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