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Kings and Queens Rise summer basketball camp for underprivileged Sacramento youth tips off

Kings and Queens Rise summer basketball camp in Sacramento tips off
Kings and Queens Rise summer basketball camp in Sacramento tips off 01:50

SACRAMENTO — A Sacramento program is keeping at-risk kids safe this summer—one hoop at a time.

It's called Kings and Queens Rise, and it is a co-ed basketball program that serves youth from 4th grade to high school juniors.

"We're in eight neighborhoods from Meadowview to Marina Vista to North Highlands, in some of the roughest areas in Sacramento and we know we can catch kids before they slip," said Kenneth Duncan, commissioner of Kings and Queens Rise.

The program is sponsored by Sacramento's Black Child Legacy Campaign which tries to prevent youth violence.

"That's the worst-case scenario is that we lose kids, not numbers but actual human beings that have parents, have siblings," said Jedida Gomes with the Black Child Legacy Campaign.

They say these types of sports programs help keep kids out of trouble during the summer months when they lose the daily structure of going to school.

Sacramento Kings guard Mason Jones spoke to the kids about his own struggles growing up and he hopes they will reach out if they need help.

"There's a lot of good decision makers here and there's a lot of people you can look up to here, and there's a lot of role models here," Jones said.

Deeunj Stevenson was one of the first kids to join the league seven years ago, and now he's a coach. He credits the program with helping him avoid gangs and drugs.

"If I wasn't going to practice, then I'd be running the streets," he said.

It is a program that gives youth a shot at a better life while fostering friendships on and off the court.

"We want to give the kids the best summer of their life," Duncan said.

The basketball league runs through the next two months and there are about 400 players on the teams this year.

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