Basketball Teen Night coming to Neblett Center; organizers hope to educate teens on dangers of gun violence

February 5, 2022 | 12:10 am

Updated February 4, 2022 | 5:26 pm

Teen Night

The New Vision Youth Development Program, one of Owensboro’s newest youth outreach organizations, will host its first event on Feb. 16 in the H.L. Neblett Community Center. The Teen Night – themed “Balls Up, Guns Down” – is a free basketball skill development session led by notable skill trainers with multiple guest speakers as well as food and drinks for all participants. 

Organized by Owensboro native Joshua James, the event will run from 6-9 p.m. and also features music, door prizes, and more. With gun crimes — especially among teens — on the rise locally, James aspires to use the event to guide young people down a more rewarding path. 

“I just want to show our youth a different way and let them know that gun violence is never the way to go,” James said. “We want them to know that we’re here and there are others here that want to help.”

He said he could relate to the young people in many ways, overcoming several of the same obstacles that laden them today. 

“I, myself, have been down a similar road that some of these teens are going through. I’ve been in their situation,” he said. “I was fortunate to have a great support group and people that really cared about me, people that showed me where my life could be if I made the right choices.”

James considers himself blessed to have had a support crew that steered him in the right direction, and he wants to pay that forward. With 8 years of experience in coaching and mentoring, the New Vision Youth Development Program aligned perfectly with his values. 

“I’m blessed to have coached kids from different backgrounds; basketball can be a great escape,” he said. “There is presently a crying need in our community. These teens need a great escape from the outside world, a place to relieve stress and anger. We want to show them other options, offer support groups, and let them know that people care.”

Apollo graduate and former Division I basketball player Tyler Brown along with local trainer and former professional basketball player Corey Wilford are among the trainers in attendance. Brionna Greer (who runs a program called Break the Cycle), Greg Fountain, Dracin Williams, Ray McHenry, and Christopher Gilbert are among some of the guest speakers scheduled to attend.

“We’ve had several people donate, which has allowed us to make the event free,” James said. “Individuals can bring door prizes and donations to the Neblett Center. We truly appreciate everything.”

A similar event is slated for March 19 at Dugan Best. James hopes to grow the events and collaborate with other outreach organizations in the community in the future. For more information on the event, access the group’s Facebook page here. To register for the event, complete this form.

February 5, 2022 | 12:10 am

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