Columbia Moonlight Hoops basketball program on hold
A Columbia program that gets kids off the streets and onto the basketball court has been shut down.
For the last 30 years, the Moonlight Hoops program has been providing Columbia kids the opportunity to get out of the house and play basketball.
But Wednesday those games are cancelled.
Parks and Recreation officials say the program will be back up and running again, because they tell us "it has to."
The lack of coaches is what is putting the program on hold.
But one community member is helping fight to get the program back.
"We ain't going nowhere," Calvin Ray Williams said.
Columbia's Parks and Recreation officials and people in the community are struggling to keep the Moonlight program up and running
Calvin Ray Williams played in the program when he was younger.
He shared with us how important he thinks keeping this program around is for kids today."Very important. Very important. It gives them something extra to do extracurricular. Whether it's here, the ARC or uptown," Williams said.
Camren Cross is the recreational supervisor with Columbia's Parks and Recreation.
He tells us he knows it can be hard to find coaches for basketball during the summer.
But that's not just it, there are other obstacles when it comes to finding coaches."Not as many people want to do a basketball league outside, it's a long, hot summer. Then you end up dealing with the stigma of the park itself," Cross said.
The league is determined to find not just coaches but role models while keeping kids busy and off the streets."It gives them the opportunity to get out here and do something constructive rather than the alternatives," said Williams.
"It's going to happen. That's just how it's going to be. If we did not have this programs the community would lose something it's held dear to itself for many many years and we don't want that to go on," Cross said.If you want to volunteer as a coach, call Parks and Recreation and ask for Camren Cross.
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