Program touts basketball court over criminal court

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Local and federal authorities are looking to host at-risk youth on the basketball court this summer to keep them out of criminal court.

The annual Game Changers program is being expanded this year to the city of Lockport, after operating for several years in Niagara Falls.

Game Changers is spearheaded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement. Daemen College and other local college basketball players will provide life lessons through instruction on the game of basketball.

Mike MacDonald, head basketball coach at Daemen College, said the program gives students a chance to broaden their experiences, while realizing they have opportunities off the streets.

“It shows them the right path. It shows them that you can make it, too,” MacDonald said. “Everybody doesn’t have to go to Duke or North Carolina, and be on TV. You can still have a really good experience, and most importantly, get a college degree. It gives them something to shoot for.”

This year, more than 100 students in both Niagara Falls and Lockport will participate in the weekly basketball program every Friday through August 7. The program is capped off with a campus tour at Niagara University.

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