On December 8th, the Court Employment Project’s Will Beale was honored by Acting State Supreme Court Judge Jo Ann Ferdinand for leading the creation of the “Above the Streets” basketball league for court-involved youth.
Now in its second season, the league includes ten teams originating from agencies across the city that run alternative-to-incarceration and drug treatment programs. Beale explains that “When we put together the league rules for participation, we wanted to make sure the players realized the importance of meeting the requirements of their programs. To continue playing, participants have to show good program attendance, maintain negative toxicology in drug testing, and demonstrate efforts toward personal growth. Team members encourage each other to remain eligible while learning and sharing values such as team spirit and sportsmanship.” He also noted that judges and court officers observed improved attitudes from players throughout the league.
Beale organized the team on his own time, separate from his duties as a substance abuse counselor for the Court Employment Project, and continues to be a driving force behind its success. Upon presenting the Certificate of Appreciation to Beale, Judge Ferdinand commended him for his inspirational leadership and commitment to promoting positive change through sports.