To celebrate a great year in basketball, the City of Gainesville is asking citizens to donate $4, $40 or $400 to support a summer basketball program for Gainesville youth.
Last month, the City of Gainesville launched its first-ever crowdfunding campaign to raise $20,720, which will expand the popular Summer Heatwave program. Summer Heatwave provides a place for Gainesville youth to go during evening summer hours with activities ranging from basketball, a life skills class and open lounges to socialize and play games.
“It’s been a winning season and Gainesville is fired up about basketball,” said Steven Phillips, the director of the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. “As our community cheers on the team this weekend, let’s also be sure to support Gainesville youth by giving them the gift of basketball. Plus, the skills taught in Summer Heatwave set up players for potential college success. That’s a slam dunk on and off the court!”
Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones noted of the program’s success, “For the past four years, during the times that the Heatwave basketball program operated, the occurrence of juvenile crimes was lower than other times throughout the year. I am certain that Heatwave was responsible for at least some of the drop in juvenile offenses during the hours of 6 and 10 p.m., late June through late August each summer.”
Community residents can make a tax-deductible donation to the project online at http://www.citizinvestor.com/project/summer-heatwave-. Please note, credit cards will not be charged unless the project reaches 100 percent of its funding goal before the deadline. The project has already raised $12,360, but the City of Gainesville and Gainesville’s youth needs help from our community to push it over the threshold.
About Summer Heatwave: Summer Heatwave is a partnership between the Gainesville Police Department (GPD); the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) and the State Attorney’s Office and is thought to be one of the factors leading to a reduction in local juvenile crime. Operation Respect Yourself Pool Parties, HeatWave Basketball and Summer Teen Lounges offer a place for engagement between GPD and local youth and a curriculum adopted by PRCA encourages positive youth development through a nationally-sponsored program called Character Counts. Overall, Summer Heatwave provides a place for youth to go during evening hours, with activities ranging from structured team sports to a life skills class that is mandatory for all youth, to open lounges to socialize and play games.