PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - It looks like a typical day on Donald Finnegan Playground in Grays Ferry with kids on the basketball court, but this game is different.
"I hurt for these kids and that’s why I'm out here doing this," said Quahsim Gredic or “Coach Q” as the kids call him. He put together this league under his organization called Victorious Establishments. It's called Peace on the Streets Youth Basketball. The motto is in the title.
"In South Philadelphia we all know about the violence and things going on. I just wanted to shine a light and bring some type of peace to this community," said Coach Q. So he took 200 children from the community, gave them shirts, put them on a team and it's all free. The payoff for him is keeping the kids safe and off the streets.
“I've lost so many friends and a few family members to gun violence, gang violence and it's just painful to see," he said. The other coaches and refs are all community volunteers. Parents like Sarah Harris are grateful.
"I love it. I think this is the best thing you could possibly do for them. They get to be busy and exercise," she said. Sonya Forde's son Meki wears the number 5 jersey. She's happy to see so many children participating but would like a bigger commitment from the adults.
"I wish that more parents would come out and support their kids versus just sending them here because that's what they need," she said. Coach Q says this is bigger than basketball. It's also about structure.
"Teaching them respect. When someone talks to you, you look them in the eye and say yes coach or no coach. Basically hoping that they can go home just take what we taught them," he said.
Monday is for children 10 and under. Wednesdays is for the 14 and under league and Fridays are for 17 and under.
Coach Q says Fresh Grocer donates water and fruit for the kids.