EAST MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) – Hoops4Hope was started in 2016. A game between police and community members was meant to help alleviate growing national tensions. And although some of that has dissipated, Tayvion Johnson believed the idea still holds importance.
“My end goal for this is to tear down some of those walls show people that people are just people,” the 23-year-old said.
He’s working to make a difference at the very place that helped get him to where he is today.
“I grew up here,” he said of East Moline. “And this is actually one of the courts I learned how to play basketball on.”
The now Rock Island resident has celebrated a few milestones over the past year.
“I do process development,” he said of his post-graduation job.
“I was the first to graduate in my family from college.”
Johnson says all of this was possible because of the relationships he built in his youth.
“I feel like if I hadn’t had some these experiences and chances and just like met the people that I’ve met, I don’t know if my life would have panned out this way,” he said.
The August 8 Hoops4Hope event was about giving the same opportunity to others.
“When you get in a position where you’re categorizing people rather than connecting with people bad things happen and you don’t want that,” he said of the importance of creating connections with a diverse group of people.
That is why he pushed to bring back this event for the second year.
“Couple guys came to the police department and they loved the fact that we did the initial event last year and they wanted to keep the tradition alive,” said East Moline Police Capt. Thomas Regan.
The law enforcement official says he’s happy to see another event where police and community members can get to know each other.
“We don’t want to be a department verse community we want to be one people who work and play and live in the same community,” Regan said.
Both men hope this builds connections that better the futures of everyone in East Moline….