On Thursday, Urban Youth Incorporated celebrated 20 years of partnering with city and state officials to use youth sports as an alternative to violence, the streets, and delinquency.
“It's all about the kids and keeping the kids out of trouble,” said Mark Sills, CEO of Urban Youth Inc. “We provide youth activities for kids to keep them off the streets and out of harm’s way.”
Back in 1997, Sills saw that, throughout Wilmington, teens with nothing better to do were heading down a negative and unproductive path all linked to boredom. To change that, he created Urban Youth, Inc. to give them an outlet to learn and play sports, like basketball.
Daria Rushdan knows the positive impacts this program can have; her daughter, Khadijah Rushdan, was a participant before heading to Rutgers, then going on to play in the WNBA for a year, drafted 15th overall in the 2nd round of 2012, then went on to coach after an injury stopped her from playing.
“Bringing your child to this program and know that they are learning...and experiencing new things, is [a great feeling],” the elder Rushdan said. “It makes life more precious to them, instead of them taking it for granted.”
Because of their work, and the work of many volunteers and supporters, this once local program, has touched the lives of more than 45,000 youth across the US, Canada, and the Caribbean.