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DANVILLE, Ill., (WCIA) — Pastor LeStan Hoskins has been organizing safe summer events for the past three years.
He said this can encourage kids to steer away from the dangers of the streets and help them make positive decisions.
“We just try to pour encouragement, love and support into our youth,” said Hoskins.
The anti-violence basketball tournament gives kids from kindergarten to high school a way to dribble out violence—one jump shot at a time. Hoskins credits the sport for helping him make good decisions.
“Basketball was a way to keep me out of trouble,” Hoskins said. “It was a way to help me get a scholarship. It helped me to deal with some of the issues that I had in life.”
Ten-year-old Ashtyn Delsol said it’s his second time competing.
“It feels good. I’m trying to surprise my mom with a lot of points and try my best,” said Delsol.
Delsol said the sport has taught him lessons he can use off the court.
“I help my mom do the dishes and I do chores,” Delsol said.
Delsol’s mom Ashley Tyler said she notices the impact events like these have had on her son.
“In Danville, you forget we have and a lot of times we say, ‘we don’t have this, we don’t have that,’” Tyler said.
Tyler credits Hoskins for giving the youth a platform to showcase their skills.
“We have talent and we have good people,” Tyler. “So, I’m glad LeStan is reminding us that Danville is a village. And it takes a village and he’s started something great.”
Hoskins said he’s thankful for the effort the community shows to put events like this together and it means everything for these kids to know that they have their back.