Antioch Midnight Basketball returns program to East County

Midnight Basketball has a long history in East County, dating back to 1998 when organizer Marzel Price started a local chapter of the national organization to help at-risk youth and young men. Price passed away in 2019, leaving a void felt across the region.

When Michael Williams first moved to East County in 2002, Price immediately recruited him to coach the Midnight Basketball of East County league. After losing her organizer, Williams wanted to see the program continue and began bringing the program back in 2020.

“We tried to start the program in 2020, but with COVID it was really difficult to get everything going,” Williams said.

That didn’t stop Williams from planning. With help from Grace Arms of Antioch and the City of Antioch, Williams organized a successful program last fall. Williams didn’t want anyone to feel like he was taking over what his friend, Price, had accomplished, so he changed the name and started a new chapter, calling it Antioch Midnight Basketball.

The way Midnight Basketball works is that it offers a comprehensive program focused on preventing high-risk behavior among young adults, typically between the ages of 18 and 25. Williams adds a second component to its program by inviting boys aged 13 to 17 to participate as well. in the program. Antioch Midnight Basketball offers an eight-week program that features organized inspirational workshops, ending each evening with a friendly basketball game between participants.

“The hook is the game of basketball,” he said. “We have a saying: ‘No workshop, no jumpshot.’ ”

The program is scheduled to begin April 1, but Williams is deep into planning program activities and preparing to begin enrolling participants on March 18. At this point, he is looking for presenters for the hour-long workshops before each game.

“We need seven workshops for young people and seven for adults,” he said. “Workshops feature topics that help teach life skills.”

For youth programming, Williams said he was looking for speakers to help teens deal with the issues that affect them the most – for example, improving self-esteem or how to deal with bullying at school. . He is open to hearing what the speakers have in mind on topics of importance to today’s teens.

For young men, Williams is looking for those who can help apply for scholarships and financial aid to help them attend college or trade school. He also hopes to tackle topics like fatherhood; saving money and managing finances; and community relations.

Antioch Midnight Basketball will be held Friday nights beginning at 7 p.m. for the youth program and 9 p.m. for the adult program at the Antioch Community Center, which is provided with the assistance of the City of Antioch. The Grace Arms, an organization run by the Grace Bible Fellowship, helped by hosting the program under its nonprofit status and organizing it. For more information on registering for Antioch Midnight Basketball or for those interested in speaking at a workshop, contact Williams at [email protected] or 925-522-2017.

Water Trophies: East County is cleaning up the dirty water sector. The City of Brentwood’s Wastewater Division and the Ironhouse Sanitary District of Oakley and Bethel Islands earned top honors from the California Water Environment Association-San Francisco Bay Region (CWEA) this month.

The City of Brentwood received the organization’s top Tertiary Reclaimed Water Plant of the Year award. Ironhouse received two awards, one for “Factory of the Year – Small” and the second for “Community Engagement and Awareness: Project of the Year – Large” for developing the company’s strategic plan. district.

Both organizations provide sewage collection, treatment and reclaimed water services for their respective service areas. CWEA is a nonprofit organization that provides education through training and certification to wastewater professionals statewide. Most of the staff of the two sewage treatment agencies are certified and approved by the association.

Roni Gehlke can be reached at [email protected]

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