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Growing up in the Washington Neighborhood, we spent all our time at the 14th Courts. I remember when it used to be just two half courts, back to back, with plastic nets and broken up concrete. It made us who we are and gave us a place to come together with the community. It was our culture and relationships that were built off our love for the game.


There were also a lot of challenges around us. From gang violence, shootings, housing instability, and families just trying make ends meet. While playing basketball you felt the hardship. I was dealing with my own challenges growing up, while at school and at home. At the time I was at a crossroads where whatever I would do next would affect the rest of my life.


It wasn’t up until I heard about a youth program across town that helped change things around for me. Despite it being a one hour bus ride to get there, it was a coaching opportunity that would help me center in on my passion and love for the game. At the time when I joined, I was just a kid trying to make it by in school and not get caught up in the mess around me. The coach motivated me to take on the adversity in my life and go after my future. I started getting straight As in school, I stopped getting in trouble, and I took basketball and college seriously. I always think about what if the Washington neighborhood had something like that, what if I didn’t have to take that long bus ride, what if all my neighborhood friends could have been a part of it too. Something created BY the people, and FOR the people at no cost. That’s where the idea of Books & Buckets came to play.   

-David McGill-Soriano, Founder

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