For the past two decades Community Kinship Coalition, Inc. (CKC) has taken a grassroots approach to address the underlying problems today’s youth and their families face in meeting challenges associated with growing up in underserved low-income communities. Since 1987 the organization’s vision has been one of empowerment and involvement of Prince Georges County youth to work together to become active participants in the decision making process, capacity building and sustaining of their communities. This is evident in the overall mission of the organization which is to empower youth through our youth development services to be productive, successful leaders with high moral character in the 21st century. CKC is committed to offering positive alternatives aimed at giving at-risk youth and their families a second chance at a productive life. In the late 80s, the organization’s founder and Executive Director, George Hodge, recognized a growing need for innovative youth intervention programs targeting at-risk youth in Prince Georges County area. One of the organization’s primary projects has been the Annual Hoops Peace in our Street Tournament/Summit, which provides youth with the opportunity to engage in good sportsmanship in a safe and mentored environment, while promoting youth development through ongoing youth intervention workshops.
CKC targets at-risk youth located in low-income, underserved communities in Prince Georges County, Maryland such as; Seat Pleasant, Palmer Park, Suitland, Fairmount Heights, Capitol Heights, and Oxon Hill. Over 80% the youth who participate in Hoops for Peace Youth Summit are African-American males ages 8 to 18, 10% are African-American females ages 13 to 17, and 10% of participating clients act as volunteers for community service hours. All the families served come from vulnerable and underserved communities within Prince George’s County. We average 75-100 parents who volunteer annually to help with this event. Parent participation in our programs represents 20% of the overall involvement in our program efforts. Out of the 100 in attendance, 20% are fathers, 10% are mothers, and 70% are legal guardians or family members or friends.
Despite being known to be one of the wealthiest counties in the country, there are communities within PG County that are predominantly low-income municipalities and towns with a high prevalence of violence, substance abuse and youth delinquency. These communities, where Community Kinship Coalition’s target population is located, includes Seat Pleasant, Capitol Heights, Fairmount Heights, Palmer Park, Suitland, Oxon Hill, and Fort Washington. CKC has also had youth participation from the Annapolis Boys and Girls Club of Maryland in Anne Arundel County. Over the past 20 years, these communities have been plagued with violence, substance abuse, drug distribution, loitering, car theft, and homicide, many of which have involved youth from low-income backgrounds. The communities served by CKC are predominantly African-Americans communities with an average of 33% of individuals residing within these communities are below the age of 18. The crime rate in these areas in recent years has seen a significant increase especially with crimes involving youth. Palmer Park for instance is considered to be one of the County’s highest crime areas, with 10 homicides reported in 2005. Gun and gang violence have resulted in the loss of innocent young lives. The increase in drug use among youth within these communities is among the factors that have resulted in a rise in violent activities. Below is a detailed demographic breakdown by municipality and town.