BASKETBALL STAR: Greville Close, 19, of Grafton, volunteers at Midnight Sports.
BASKETBALL STAR: Greville Close, 19, of Grafton, volunteers at Midnight Sports.

Midnight role model steps up

NINETEEN-year-old Greville Close hasn't missed a night of Midnight Basketball since it began in February 2012.

He started out like most of the other kids, just for something to do, but now he comes along as a volunteer.

"I first heard about it when I was at school; I went along because it was better than wasting time hanging around on the streets and getting up to no good," Greville said.

"It was fun so I got the boys together and we kept going - it's something different to look forward to on Friday nights."

This season he's coaching the younger kids in basketball skills, hip hop dancing, and art workshops.

"I like teaching. It's fun and different to playing. I like helping out because it's stepping up," he said.

"Maybe it's something I could do for a job later on."

With funding from Clarence Valley Council due to run out at the end of September, Greville is calling for someone to come to the rescue to keep the program going.

"Midnight Sports is about getting kids more active instead of hanging around and it keeps them out of trouble," he said.

"It will be harsh if they cut the funding - some of these kids have nothing else to do."

Midnight Sports began in Grafton in 2012 as a Federally-funded program.

Previously known as Midnight Basketball, the program is for young people aged 12-18 years, helping them to identify and embrace positive opportunities.

It's been hailed by many as an outstanding success.

When the Federal grant expired at the end of 2013, Clarence Valley Council took over funding and management, expanding the program to include touch football, indoor soccer, and basketball, and re-branding as Midnight Sports.

If you think you can help with funding or as a volunteer, contact manager Alan Grainger and his dedicated team of volunteers on 0408 946 528 or email grafton@midnightbasketball.org.au

DETAILS

WHERE: Grafton Indoor Sports Centre, Powell St.

WHEN: Friday nights from 7.30pm

DETAILS: A free program for young people aged 12 to 18 years. Each season runs over six weeks and involves dinner, a compulsory life skills workshop and tournament basketball games from 7.30pm-midnight, followed by a bus home, providing a safe and motivating environment. The current season started on August 8.



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