Nonprofit's youth basketball clinic aims to reach children vulnerable to violence

heb foundation basketball.jpg
Posted at 2:09 PM, May 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-15 08:11:46-04

HAMPTON, Va. - A day of fun...that hopefully leads to a lifetime of success.

Peninsula nonprofit The HEB Foundation held a youth basketball clinic at Hampton's Thomas Community Center on Saturday and dozens came out in the hopes of sharpening their hoops skills. But organizers say the event is about much more than a game.

"Our hope today is to just sow a small seed into the life of a child," said Chanda Coston, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of The HEB Foundation.

HEB stands for Healing, Evolving and Building. The organization is named for Coston's brother, Raghib Brooks, who died in a shooting in 2018.

Coston and her family started their mission shortly after, specifically creating initiatives designed to reach those most likely to be touched by gun violence.

"Statistics show when children don't have anything to do, they tend to get into a bit of trouble, so here we are," she said, adding that basketball and other team sports teach skills useful both on and off the court. "You'll think about team building, you'll think about communication, you'll think about strategizing, thinking outside the box to deal with life situations."

The event came on the heels of a violent three days in Hampton Roads; eight people were killed in shootings that reached five of the seven major Hampton Roads cities, including Hampton.

"It's constantly looking at ways to deal with the issues in the community that create the issues that lead to gun violence," Coston said of her family's efforts.

The skills learned by the kids at Saturday's clinic — maybe something her brother's killer never experienced.

"I'm still mourning, I'm still in grief," she told News 3. "But [this] shows that you can do something positive."

The HEB Foundation is planning events throughout the year to reach as many people as possible. Click HERE for more information.