NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- A volunteer police chaplain, a pastor, and a doctor. Willard Maxwell Jr. does it all.
He's putting all his passions together to try and break down barriers between young people and police, and he’s using basketball to do so.
Dr. Maxwell created the InTouch Community Basketball tournament a year ago, with one goal in mind, unity.
“To have police and community come together and see each other in a different light is really bridging the gap,” Dr.Maxwell says.
Dr. Maxwell serves as a volunteer Police Chaplain. He has witnessed firsthand the devastation this tension and distrust has had on the community.
“If I only see you when it's bad news, of course my conscience makes me feel like it's something negative towards that particular group of people because the only time I’ve interacted with them is always negative,” Dr. Maxwell says.
Dr. Maxwell has partnered with the Newport News Police Foundation, Ferguson, Patrick Henry Mall, Newport News Parks and Rec, Newport News Youth Gang and Violence Prevention, New Beech Grove Baptist Church Community Development Center, Coalition of Concerned Clergy, The Virginia Unity Project, and a host of elected officials, community leaders, and business owners.
The basketball tournament is only possible through a grant from Ferguson Enterprises. All donations are tax deductible.
“My vision is to ensure at least one positive interaction between law enforcement and the community,” Dr. Maxwell says. “I hope this tournament can begin to ease tension, eliminate stereotypical views and serve as a breeding ground for unity among each group.”
Tournament dates and locations are as follows:
South Precinct – June 23, 2017 9:30AM-4PM
Achievable Dream Tennis Center
1300 Ivy Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607
North Precinct (combined with Central Precinct tournament) – July 14, 2017 9AM-5PM
Denbigh Community Center
15198 Warwick Blvd.
Newport News, VA 23608
The tournament will culminate on August 4, 2017 with a championship game and other festivities (resume training, school supply give away, exhibits, bounce houses, etc.) at the Denbigh Community Center from 9AM-5PM.
To register your team, volunteer or donate to this worthwhile cause, visit https://www.newbeechgrove.org/ or contact Roxann Norman at (757) 928-5088 for more information.