Letter from the Founders

In 1988 a group of us—young parents on the Upper West Side—were working with local merchants to create a “Safe Haven” neighborhood program. As an outgrowth of this focus on creating a safe and family-centered community, we decided to start a basketball program for the children of the community. As founders we wanted: first, to bring together a broad spectrum of children and families from public, private, and parochial schools; second, to provide these children with a safe, supervised indoor recreational program particularly during the winter months; and third, to teach children to enjoy the sport of basketball.

To meet these goals, we worked with NYS funders to get seed money and with city officials to claim the neighborhood public school gyms for weekend recreational use. We started as the district wide PS 75 PTA Child Safety Program. Then a small local organization, The Resourceful Family, agreed to become the non-profit home for the Safe Haven West Side Basketball League. The League structure, from the beginning, rested on volunteer coaches and referees, mainly parents, older siblings, and young adult basketball lovers from the community. These values of bringing a diverse group of children together, using local schools as neighborhood recreation centers, and fostering fun while teaching basketball, still underline the Safe Haven West Side Basketball League.

In December 1988 we opened our first season with 132 children, ages 9-12. Thirty years later we serve over 800 players, ages 8-18. Some of those first players now are the parents of children in the league, carrying on the traditions of volunteering, diversity, open public school spaces, and skilled basketball fun for children.

We are proud to be Safe Haven Basketball League founders.

Marsha Hurst
Jane Mushabac

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