Summer program aims to get young adults in Norfolk off the streets

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A summer program at five community centers around Norfolk hopes to inspire young adults and keep them off the streets with positive activities.

The Norfolk Nighthawks started last summer in Berkley and Huntersville. This summer, the program will be expanded to Norview, East Ocean View and Lambert’s Point.

The program is based around pick-up basketball games, but there’s also game and fitness rooms, computers labs and access to mentors.

“The purpose is to pull them from those bad things [and] to keep them on a positive track,” said Acquanette Simmons, recreation specialist. “There’s a lot of things going on in the neighborhood that are not beneficial, and if these kids see that the adult version of themselves are staying out of trouble, then they’ll continue to do the same as well.”

Carl Farris, who grew up playing basketball at the Berkley Community Center, says the program promotes friendship and learning valuable life skills.

“If you love basketball, you want to come out here,” the 19-year-old said. “There’s some good basketball players out here and there’s free giveaways… Mr. Ivey, he told me the ways how to become a good person, to get a job; he built my resume up.”

Activities are free and open to people 18 years old and older on Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the following locations:

  • BERKLEY: Begins June 23 for nine weeks
  • HUNTERSVILLE: Begins June 23 for nine weeks
  • NORVIEW: Begins June 23 for three weeks
  • EAST OCEAN VIEW: Begins July 14 for three weeks
  • LAMBERT’S POINT: July 21 and 22

Simmons say the program is seeking volunteers, mentors and sponsors.

Holly Christopher, with Parks, Recreation and Open Space, says a full list of activities to be offered at each location will be posted soon to the city’s website.