Northwest Philly dad uses hoops to keep area kids off the streets

Haneef Hill’s group, Urban Youth Kings and Queens, adds a basketball camp to its growing list of opportunities for Philadelphia youth
Haneef Hill, Brianna Brown at the Urban Youth Kings & Queens summer basketball camp.
Haneef Hill, Briana Brown at the Urban Youth Kings & Queens summer basketball camp. Photo credit Shara Dae Howard/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A nonprofit started by a Northwest Philadelphia father has grown to serve kids across the city. His goal is to keep kids off the streets, by keeping them on the field and court and with mentors.

“A lot of children are raised by the streets, and if we can keep them engaged year-round, I think it minimizes those opportunities for children to go out and get lost,” said Haneef Hill.

He was born and raised in Northwest Philly, and he wanted to do for his kids and neighborhood youth what his parents did for him.

“My mom and dad kept me busy. I played sports year-round, and it didn’t leave any idle time to get caught up in the streets,” said Hill.

He started the nonprofit Urban Youth Kings and Queens six years ago. At least one of its many programs serves kids 4 to 16 years old.

“It was an opportunity for me to provide outlets & resources for kids in the city of Philadelphia,” he said.

The word got around, and hundreds of kids signed up.

“Children from all over the city,” Hill said, adding that youth from Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties also came.

He said that this summer, they launched their first-ever summer basketball camps at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy for kids 7 to 15 years old.

“For me personally our goal is — every year — to add a new program, and we’ve been planning this for three years,” said Hill.

Camp instructor Briana Brown says the camp’s purpose is about the game, but also about giving back.

“For the kids, I want them to learn to love the game and pay it forward,” said Brown.

“I’m fed paying it forward. I grew up playing basketball and it’s truly an honor to do the same thing for kids.”

Urban Youth Kings and Queens also offers mentoring, after-school opportunities, and youth baseball and softball programs.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Shara Dae Howard/KYW Newsradio