In 2017, Sergeant Kevin Lui of the London Police Service took the initiative to reboot Joe League, a discontinued basketball-focused community outreach initiative. His redesigned program develops kids’ basketball and life skills through a variety of volunteer-led activities and league play. Because of the time, energy and vision that Kevin brought to Joe League and the partnerships he forged, the program has passed the 2 year milestone and funding has already been secured for next year.
The program has made a difference in the lives of close to 50 boys and girls of varying ages, ethnic backgrounds, skill and experience levels from 7 community housing sites across London. In 2019, the second year of the program, many returning participants brought their friends and siblings. On the final day of the program this year, the kids were already talking about next year. These observations attest to the program’s success and to a level of trust among the members of the community.
Kevin was instrumental in securing financial and in-kind contributions, including a Community Development Grant from Canadian Tire Jumpstart, to cover transportation fees to remove barriers to participation. The rebooted Joe League has now given two young community members spots in a specialized summer basketball camp to continue their personal growth and development in the sport.
Kevin’s dedication to Joe League is extraordinary. Kevin was unselfishly involved in all aspects of bringing the vision to life and was an open, compassionate, approachable and active coach from week to week. He also freely shared the story of his own struggles as a younger person to inspire the children to overcome any challenges they may face. Kevin is a community role model in word and deed, who leads by example. His initiative has enriched the lives of the participants and fostered ongoing positive police/community interactions.