Pastor creates 'Project 2016' in Mangonia Park

Posted at 7:22 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 19:22:29-04

It's a simple philosophy for Pastor Tracy Wilkins, who was born and raised on the south side of Chicago: "If we can put a basketball in their hand today, we can keep them out of trouble tomorrow," he says.

He says sports helped to turn his life around.

Now he wants to do the same for kids in Mangonia Park, an area he says is underserved and under privileged.

Introducing 'Project  2016' - the vision of Pastor Wilkins and his wife.

He says in this neighborhood - summertime tends to bring trouble.

A triple murder of three teens back in 2014 one of many incidents that comes to his mind

"It's getting gradually worse," he says. "We want to be on the front end to stop it."

He says keeping kids busy will keep them out of trouble.

A basketball court is already in place, with football fields to come later this summer.

He hopes to hold barbecues and basketball tournaments later this year.

The community responded to his call for help -  to the tune of $10,000 raised in just 30 days.

Debora Stalwart dropped in Friday to give her donation.

"They are an inspiration to a lot of youth," she says. "I wish they had it back when my kids were young."

Pastor Wilkins says he hopes to be an inspiration for others to create change.

"If they can just see what we're doing, and see that it is positive, and that it works...hopefully it'll inspire others to do the same thing in their respective neighborhoods," he says. 

If you would like to help donate to 'Project 2016', click here.