Basketball program offers life lessons to at-risk youth

Jun 3, 2014

The Drug Enforcement Administration kicked off its second annual Game Changers basketball training program Monday. The program aims to reduce violent crime and drug related issues among area youth.

“According to the U.S. Justice Department, youth crime continues to plague inner cities across the country and research shows that a rigorous sports program for at-risk youth coupled with interactive counseling sessions that focus on how to make better choices is effective at reducing crime,” said DEA of Buffalo Resident Agent in Charge Michelle Spahn.

Game Changers kicks off its program.
Credit photo by Jaeyeon Sim / Some Rights Reserved

Spahn says Game Changers is an eight-week basketball training program that includes instruction and character building techniques. It was modeled after ‘Saturday Night Lights,’ a similar program in Manhattan.

Spahn says the youth ages 9 to 18 that participate in the basketball program will also take part in character building activities and learn important life skills.

“They’ll receive some motivational speaking sessions by prominent members of the community, as well as some professional athletes this year. They’ll get some information regarding how to make better decisions in their life, how to make better choices, giving them some opportunities to staff of the streets and away from drugs. [They’re also] provided with some interviewing skills, how to build a resume and how to prepare for college,” said Spahn.

Game Changers will kick off at the Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club Friday, June 6. It will run every Friday night from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. through August 1. For more information, anyone interested can visit