“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

About

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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History

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 GymEvery 1st and 3rd Monday 5-7pm

Little Village High School Open GymMondays 5-8pm

Little Village Middle School Open GymMondays 3-5pm

Team

Dennis Foster

Mentor

Mario Vega

HP Director of Mentoring

Mike Torres

Sports-Based Mentor Coordinator

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Volunteer

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