Holyoke initiative helps keep kids off the streets

Sheriff: 65% of the kids in south Holyoke never attended an after-school program

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A basketball league sponsored by the Hampden District Attorney’s office had their championship game Friday night, and their success this summer was a slam dunk.

It’s all part of the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative, a partnership between the City of Holyoke and the District Attorney. The league provides a positive activity for teens, in a safe environment, when school is out.

In 2012, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department found 65% of the kids in south Holyoke had never attended an after-school program. “When we started basketball, we noticed we had the biggest draw of kids. We started with 56, and now we have 240 kids,” said Ed Caisse, staffer at the Sheriff’s office.

According to Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, We realize it’s so important for our young people today to have those opportunities to get off the streets, meet positive people, and meet people who care about them.”

The DA and Sheriff’s office said they’ve watched as the league helped these teens develop stronger character and become more responsible citizens.

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