Hartford Children Enjoy Sports and a Safe Haven
Boom, bang, boom! That sound fills the air at The Salvation Army in the North End of Hartford.
Unlike the all too familiar sound that can sometimes be heard in the North End, this is a positive sound. It's the sound of a basketball bouncing against the floor and backboard. It’s the sound of relief for parents who know their children have a safe place to play in this disadvantaged area where violence is all too common. And it’s the sound of change for young people taking part in our North End Sports Fellowship program. It started in the summer of 2021. Now, every Saturday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., over 30 children race around the court, learning the basics of basketball while letting off their youthful energy in a constructive manner.
Yet the Sports Fellowship program is about more than playing a game. “Our basketball program helps us provide a safe haven for young people. We want The Salvation Army in the North End to be a place where children can come and do what they love and feel like they belong,” says Captain Steven Salmon, Corps Officer.
Through sports, children learn teamwork, leadership, resilience, and time management skills, all while enjoying fun and fellowship.
Additionally, each Monday a group called Bloodline Basketball comes to teach children the fundamentals of the game. They strive to instill self-confidence in each child that will help them on and off the court as they grow up. Captains Steven and Denise Salmon hope to expand the Sports Fellowship program and add volleyball so they can reach even more children. They are seeking paid referees, as well as donations of sports equipment.
The Salvation Army continues to be a beacon of hope and safety for children growing up in difficult circumstances.