“Going to Mondays open gym for me always excites me because I get to see all my amazing mentors and friends there. Knowing that I can go to that program openly, I feel safe and that environment makes me cheerful.”
- Youth participant


Open Gym allows for a safe space in which youth can come and participate in a variety of sports and other play-related activities. Open Gym at Little Village meets once a week and fluctuates to about a dozen or so youth. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we began individual skill stations as opposed to full court games and tournaments for safer play. We love that our youth are able to share some of their thoughts and everyday circumstances during our check-ins. We have seen our youth grow in maturity and grow within their own basketball skills. We talk a quite a bit about balance and how there are times where we are mostly competing against ourselves for skill-building. Participants grow in their appreciation for the importance of spending time working on fundamental and foundational skills.

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Started by a volunteer over five years ago, open gym has been a place for youth to participate at various capacities since then. It provides a safe space for youth to not only explore different play opportunities, but strengthen their development within certain sports. Youth participate in the Open Gym program as a space where they can play a variety of sports, with volleyball and basketball being two of the more popular sports. For some of the youth it has led to them being able to participate in sport specific leagues and/or tournaments. This program creates a space for youth to be with their friends and/or make new friends.

During this time and space youth also participate in check-in circles or in a variety of sharing circles depending on the week. We are able to speak on recent happenings and work on different ways to communicate by sharing as much as we are willing. Through sport, youth can learn new skills and develop skills they never knew they had in order to continue to build within their community.

Humboldt Park Open Gym

Monday 4pm-6pm

Wednesday 4pm-7pm

Little Village High School Open Gym

Monday 5pm-9pm

Little Village Middle School Open Gym

Monday 3pm-5pm


Aldo Vazquez


Endy Salgado


Giovanni Bello


Mario Vega

HP Director of Mentoring

Mike Torres

Sports-Based Mentor Coordinator