Everybody loves Saturday night

YOUNG people have no excuse to be out on the streets on Saturday nights.

Midnight Basketball makes a comeback to the courts of Kevin Betts Stadium this weekend.

Now in its second year, it's on every Saturday night from 7.30pm until June 26 for people aged 12 to 18 who live in the 2770 postcode area.

Each session starts with a healthy dinner, and a workshop that covers cyberbullying, drug and alcohol education, nutrition, cultural awareness, CVs and job interviews.

Participants must attend the workshop before taking to the court.

"The community will benefit from the program," chairman Michael Cruz said.

"Participants will become more engaged with their communities.

"Basketball is a great outlet for their personal development.

"It gives young people opportunities they wouldn't normally get."

Midnight Basketball has a strong retention rate.

"We get a good mix of boys and girls," Mr Cruz said.

"It's a great way to make friends and we welcome anyone who's never played before."

It's a chance to prove critics wrong who say there's nothing to keep young people off the streets.

"There's plenty for young people to do," Mr Cruz, a local youth worker, said.

"If people think there's a need, they should get involved and go to fill it."

Federal Chifley MP Ed Husic lobbied for the free program be implemented in Mount Druitt.

He is the Midnight Basketball patron.

"It's given young people an outlet in the area," Mr Cruz said.

Participants must find their own way there but a bus will drive them home.

Volunteers are welcome.

Details: Red Cross Blacktown, 9229 4272.

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