City leaders say summer programs can help keep children off the streets


TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Twelve people were shot dead after gunfire erupted at a July 4 block party, killing one. Police said most of the victims were teenagers. Local leaders call it senseless violence.

“I think that as a child you have a lot to go through. So it’s unfortunate that young children kill each other. Ultimately, we have to find a way to bring love back, ”said former NBA basketball player Dennis Hopson.

Dennis Hopson hopes some kids can find that love on the basketball court. Hopson grew up in Toledo, played college basketball, and played in the NBA. On Wednesday, he’ll be hosting a one-day basketball camp at Savage Park from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for kids in grades 4 and up. It’s free.

“Come here and learn some basic skills.”

The camp is part of the city of Toledo’s summer programming to keep children safe and off the streets. Since January, 139 people have been shot dead in Toledo. Hopson says we can stop the violence, but it has to start with young people.

“The only way young people can make a difference is through mentors, parents of teachers who lend a hand and do their part. Ten years from now, we don’t want to look like a war zone. Hopefully we can grab our kids and get them in the right direction and do what they need to do and that will change what the situation looks like, ”Hopson said.

He believes summer camps can help create positive changes in their lives.

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