Bobby Brown’s “Beyond the Court” Violence Prevention Initiatives holds yearly basketball clinics that use basketball as a platform to reinforce it’s theme of anti-gun violence. Through presentations by law enforcement and other community leaders, youth are empowered to make positive decisions for their lives in order to have a positive impact on their families and community.
Speakers, including founder Bobby Brown, expose the ill effects of gun violence with the goal of shifting the behavior and attitudes of the youth participants so they will be able to understand the big picture. Public health officials, law enforcement, trauma center nurse(s), and mental health professional(s) are on hand to assist throughout the day.
Youth participants are encouraged to develop alternative methods when faced with conflict that do not involve violence. Inner-city youth culture and gang belief systems around not “snitching” on offenders, losing face by “punking out” (running from conflict rather than fighting), are unpacked and challenged. Youth are encouraged to see that being individuals and standing up to peer privilege demonstrates strength rather than caving into peer pressure to fight and use weapons as a way of building a reputation of being “hard.”
The basketball clinics teach skills, including how to handle the ball, stand, pass, dribble, and shoot. Coaches look for opportunities to give positive feedback and encourage participants to work hard and to make good decisions. They also emphasize teamwork and sportsmanship.
While their children are learning basketball skills, parents of participants, as well as other concerned community members, attend a parent workshop, “Parenting in Difficult Times,” to help them develop parenting strategies that will enable them to become healthy role models while providing an opportunity for healing. The goal is to provide parents the skills necessary to help their children correct behaviors that are detrimental to the family and society. Through sharing their experiences, the workshop also provides parents an opportunity to plan an agenda for change and work towards community violence prevention solutions.
Trophies and t-shirts with anti-gun violence slogans are awarded to each participant. At the end of the clinic, special awards are given and community dinner takes place.
“Beyond the Court” Basketball Clinic is a free event open to boys and girls ages 9-15 living in the Twin Cities area.