By Devon Johnson, Contributing Writer
Devon Johnson is a new contributing writer for Community Arts NYC. Devon grew up in Brooklyn in NYCHA’s Marcy Development, and is one of our New York based writers. Check out his introductory post here.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in recent years has held a negative connotation when it came to assisting residents but more recently The New York City Housing Authority and has been doing some wonderful things to help it’s Residents, and one of the things that I ‘d like to talk about is NYCHA’s Education through Sports program. The program provides various, sports activities for children and young adults. These free instructional clinics are designed to introduce NYCHA’s community based children to sports they may or may not have known they hold major talent in. Most residents are familiar with normal inner city sports like handball, basketball or football. But what if there was a child that had the ability to play golf like Arnold Palmer or could control a football (aka soccer ball) like David Beckham?
You see I peep what NYCHA is doing, their showing kids new things and possible interest in sports they maybe would have never known existed in their youthful age. And it could be useful for their future too! I know if you can play lacrosse very well major universities (like my former college St John’s) will hand you over a full scholarship for representing the university. Check out this awesome 10 minute YouTube link on the Education through Sports program.
You know what? Even though most don’t consider bowling a sport, (calm down I do!!!) NYCHA also created a co-ed bowling league. That teaches approximately 300 residents the fundamentals of bowling. They compete in citywide bowling tournaments and this really helps give teens that growing, “I can win attitude” that’s a priceless thought that is much needed in these underserved communities.
But the buck doesn’t stop there. they have basketball, flag football, karate/tai chi, netball, track and field etc., but what really amazed me is that the National Football League and the New York City Housing Authority have partnered together to establish the NFL Officiating Academy. How real is that?!?! They’re teaching both young men and women within NYCHA’s 334 Developments the critical skills necessary to become a game official. I have lived in NYCHA for over 20 years and I have to say if this was around most of my friends would probably be here today and not dead or in jail. One resisdent at a time NYCHA is changing times mines and changing attitudes. Check out the community programs and services page to see what may interest you!