On Friday nights during the summer you can hear the sound of basketballs on the blacktop outside Christ Temple Community Church in the heart of Oklahoma City. For the past 15 years, the church has been inviting kids to get off the streets and play "Midnight Basketball" at the church from 7 p.m. to midnight (and sometimes until 1 a.m.) in a safe, adult-supervised environment.
"It gives them a chance to play without dodging bullets and to have a sense of belonging. It lets them know that someone cares about them," Marvin Sampson, an off-duty sheriff's deputy who provides security for Midnight Basketball, told The Oklahoman.
The church also provides food and drinks and fun alternative activities for younger children. Volunteers do everything from refereeing games to leading group prayer at dusk with the participants.
Local school teacher and church member Bobbie Dailey who leads the group prayer told The Oklahoman, "For some children, this may be the ...1