Donna Dudley Peace program youth try to beat the cops in annual softball all-star game

SHARE Donna Dudley Peace program youth try to beat the cops in annual softball all-star game
SHARE Donna Dudley Peace program youth try to beat the cops in annual softball all-star game

Thursday night on the West Side, a group of youth taking part in a gang intervention program will try to kick some cops’ butts—on the baseball diamond.

At Little Cubs Field in Humboldt Park, the big lights will be on and the bats swinging as one of the city’s oldest community youth programs hosts its annual Build Gang Peace League All-Stargame, Homicide Watch Chicago is reporting.

Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development, or BUILD, was established in 1969 as a gang intervention program for youth in Humboldt Park, but has grown to serve over 3,000 youth annually with organizedactivities.

One of BUILD’s most popular programs is the Donna Dudley Peace League, with a goal of using sports “to bridge community, racial and gang barriers that keep us divided,” according to spokesman Daniel Perez.

Now in its fourth year, the goal is to assist “gang members and other at-risk youth in crisis to reduce illegal, anti-social and violent activities, through the use of sports,” according to Perez. The program “ultimately helps to increase their self-esteem, commitment to education and positivebehavior.

“We use our programs to reach out to different communities so they can create teams that will play different neighborhoods…The kids learn to understand each other on a different platform other than when they see each other on the streets.” hesaid.

The annual all-star game has previously been played at Thillens Park in Rogers Park, but was brought back to Humboldt Park to be in a more central location and closer to the roots of the program, Perezsaid.

The softball league’s all-stars will take the field Thursday against a team of Chicago Police officers at Little Cubs Field at 1339 Luis Munoz Marin Dr. It’s the highpoint of the league’s season-ending all-star night, with festivities starting at 3 p.m. and culminating with the game againstpolice.

“Although the players change every year, the last game is the highlight of the night,” Perezsaid.

—Jared Lansman, Homicide Watch Chicago

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