Nonprofit hosts free Mesa sports camp for kids of incarcerated parents

By Ignacio Ventura
Published: Monday, March 11, 2024 - 10:40am
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2024 - 10:42am

Dozens of kids throw basketballs in the air at the sports camp event put on by Prison Fellowship.
Ignacio Ventura/KJZZ
Dozens of children throw basketballs at the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree Basketball sports camp at the Central Christian Church in Mesa on March 9, 2024.

Dozens of kids took to the court Saturday at the gym of Central Christian Church in Mesa. The Christian nonprofit Prison Fellowship put on a free sports camp for children of incarcerated parents.

The mission of the camp was to support these children to gain sports skills and learn lessons with a connection to God.

Former University of San Diego basketball standout Brandon Johnson helped to run the clinic. He has a personal connection to the cause: He was a third-grader when his mother was imprisoned.

Later, Johnson was convicted for conspiracy to commit sports bribery, derailing an NBA career.

“A lot of these kids, someone in their family is incarcerated. And so when they come here, they can look at that kid and connect with them. You can make friends. I want them to take that away when they leave here," he said. 

Jeremy Caldera of Phoenix was one of the parents in attendance.

“It's good because it helps the community grow stronger together. It gives the kids something to do on their weekend other than just playing video games or running the streets or whatever," he said.

Prison Fellowship has been running kids sports clinics since 2005 in cities across the country.

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