April 11, 2014
CINCINNATI – Several members of the University of Cincinnati men’s and women’s basketball teams spent Friday evening visiting with area youth participating in the H3Cincy Program at the Bush Recreation Center.
As many as a dozen UC student-athletes discussed the importance of education, developing proper life skills and building a strong work ethic during the hour-long event. The teams also took photos and briefly shot baskets with the children.
Cincinnati Chief of Police Jeffrey Blackwell also spoke to the group encouraging the children to be successful in life and make a positive impact in the community.
“We wanted to come here to give back to the community and talk to the young kids to give them motivation to stay on the right path,” UC sophomore Shaquille Thomas said.
“Seeing us in person is real life, it’s first hand,” UC freshman Marley Hill said. “We’re somewhat of a role model to them. For them to see us in school, hopefully they want to follow our lead and be in school as well.”
The gathering is one of the key components of the 10-week H3Cincy (Hoops, Heart, Hope) Program developed by the Cincinnati Police Department in conjunction with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater Cincinnati. The program provides high-level educational, recreational and mentoring opportunities for Cincinnati youth through the game of basketball.
Participants engage in fun, positive activities centered around learning and competition. In just five weeks the H3Cincy Program has positively impacted more than 300 youth by developing trusting relationships with CPD officers, Recreation Center staff, mentors and volunteers.
“It has been a blessing to have the University of Cincinnati student-athletes come and spend time with this group and give such an important message,” Blackwell said. “Some of the athletes come from similar situations and see themselves in these kids. At the same time, we know that the kids look up to the athletes.”