New basketball program aims to help reduce violent crime in Danville

Dozens of kids participating in Hoop Don't Shoot program

DANVILLE, Va. – In just one month, Angienette Dixon’s “Hoop Don’t Shoot” program has grown from just a few kids to a few dozen.

With 16 homicides last year and seven so far this year, she said she has sometimes had to go to two funerals in one week so she decided she wanted to do something to try to help stop the violence.

While playing basketball with some kids recently, the idea for the program came to her.

“I saw the joy it gave them. It dropped in my spirit that that’s what’ll motivate them,” said Dixon.

She started holding games with the goal of getting kids to come play basketball instead of hanging out on the streets where they’re likely to get involved in crime and violence.

So far, the program has done just that for at least two kids.

 “There were two of them that had been asked to join a gang; had been pressured. I brought them out here and played with them and talked to them" Dixon explained. "They were telling me I was just in time.”

Kids participating in the program say this is just what the city needs.

“It’s showing me that not all kids are violent kids and we can just all come together and show off skills,” said 10th grader Kendrell McClary.

“At the rate we’re going, we need a whole lot to come together,” said Stevie Johnson, who just graduated high school.

Dixon’s initiative has also inspired people to help out with the program.

Stuart Smith brought food and drinks and even set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money to purchase more food and drinks.

“We’re looking to raise about $3,000 and the idea is to keep this program going for 10 weeks, which would take it through the end of the summer,” said Smith.

Dixon said she is committed to making this program a slam dunk in the city’s full-court press against violence.

Anyone interested in participating in the games or helping with the program can contact Dixon at (434) 709-3043.


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