Title

Hoops with Heroes: Lessons Learned from a Law Enforcement and Middle School Youth Collaboration

First Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Second Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention

Relevance

This proposal is relevant to both the Heart strand and Hands strand. In relation to the Heart strand, our program seeks to instill and support social and emotional life skills that not only impact them, but also impact the social climate for children and youth in their world. In relation to the Hands strand, our program seeks to build positive relationships between youth-at-risk and law enforcement, thereby helping reduce or prevent violence.

Brief Program Description

This program builds positive relationships between middle school youth-at-risk and local law enforcement while reinforcing important life skills though basketball and relationship building activities. In the program, the kids learn about the importance of being a H.E.R.O.: Honest, Enthusiastic, Responsible and Optimistic, learn about careers in law enforcement, and get to play basketball with local law enforcement officers, Georgia Southern student-athletes, and other student volunteers.

Summary

This presentation will explain what our program is about, why we developed the program, and how we implemented it in our community. Importantly, we will share lessons we learned in creating and expanding the program. There have been numerous recent allegations of police brutality within communities nationwide. The resulting tension between law enforcement officers and their local communities has brought national attention to an issue that desperately needs positive and effective intervention at the local level (Dennis, 2014).

Sadly, disturbing images of man incidents are easily available to youth, even if they do not witness the event personally. Research has shown that youth who have been exposed to police violence my experience many forms of trauma that can create difficulties transitioning into adulthood (Dennis, 2015). Sport has been shown as one way to address childhood trauma. In fact, many researchers have argued that sport programs should intentionally teach life skills beyond the game whether trauma was involved or not (Danish, Petitpas, & Hale, 1993; Gould, Carson, & Blanton, 2013, Papacharisis, Goudas, Danish, & Theodorakis, 2005). Youth basketball, in particular, has been shown to have a positive impact on life skills in intentionally designed programs (Harrist & Witt, 2012). This explicit design can transfer life skills from sport to non-sport contexts (Turnnidge, Côté, & Hancock, 2014; Weiss, Stuntz, Bhalla, Bolter, & Price, 2013).

Utilizing Allport’s contact theory (1954; 1979) as a theoretical framework, the Hoops with Heroes program was designed to create interpersonal interactions between youth and law enforcement in a safe environment. This interpersonal contact between individuals from different groups in a positive, structured framework is theorized to reduce prejudice and improve intergroup relations.

Evidence

This presentation will explain what our program is about, why we developed the program, and how we implemented it in our community. Importantly, we will share lessons we learned in creating and expanding the program. There have been numerous recent allegations of police brutality within communities nationwide. The resulting tension between law enforcement officers and their local communities has brought national attention to an issue that desperately needs positive and effective intervention at the local level (Dennis, 2014).

Sadly, disturbing images of man incidents are easily available to youth, even if they do not witness the event personally. Research has shown that youth who have been exposed to police violence my experience many forms of trauma that can create difficulties transitioning into adulthood (Dennis, 2015). Sport has been shown as one way to address childhood trauma. In fact, many researchers have argued that sport programs should intentionally teach life skills beyond the game whether trauma was involved or not (Danish, Petitpas, & Hale, 1993; Gould, Carson, & Blanton, 2013, Papacharisis, Goudas, Danish, & Theodorakis, 2005). Youth basketball, in particular, has been shown to have a positive impact on life skills in intentionally designed programs (Harrist & Witt, 2012). This explicit design can transfer life skills from sport to non-sport contexts (Turnnidge, Côté, & Hancock, 2014; Weiss, Stuntz, Bhalla, Bolter, & Price, 2013).

Utilizing Allport’s contact theory (1954; 1979) as a theoretical framework, the Hoops with Heroes program was designed to create interpersonal interactions between youth and law enforcement in a safe environment. This interpersonal contact between individuals from different groups in a positive, structured framework is theorized to reduce prejudice and improve intergroup relations.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Charles H. Wilson, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Coaching Education in the Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology at Georgia Southern University. He has over 20 years of coaching experience from the middle school to high-major NCAA Division I, over 70 publications and presentations around the world, and is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit. Wilson is passionate about the positive potential of sports and seek to encourage and empower coaches to positively impact their players through holistic, athlete-centered coaching and their local communities through service and engagement.

Dr. Drew Zwald is the Director of Coaching Education and Professor in the Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology at Georgia Southern University. He is the Past President of the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education. His teaching and research focuses on administration, pedagogy and coaching education. He has published articles, book chapters and manuals, awarded grants and presented over 100 research papers at international, national, regional or state conferences. Under his direction the Georgia Southern University Coaching Education Program was recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education as the second college or university in the United States to offer an accredited coaching education program. He coached various sports for thirteen years at the interscholastic and collegiate levels.

Keyword Descriptors

Positive Youth Development, Sport for Development and Peace, Life Skills, Law Enforcement, Basketball

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

3-5-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2019 5:30 PM

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Mar 5th, 4:00 PM Mar 5th, 5:30 PM

Hoops with Heroes: Lessons Learned from a Law Enforcement and Middle School Youth Collaboration

This program builds positive relationships between middle school youth-at-risk and local law enforcement while reinforcing important life skills though basketball and relationship building activities. In the program, the kids learn about the importance of being a H.E.R.O.: Honest, Enthusiastic, Responsible and Optimistic, learn about careers in law enforcement, and get to play basketball with local law enforcement officers, Georgia Southern student-athletes, and other student volunteers.