CAISSON PARTNER: Full Court Peace
Mike Evans founded Full Court Peace in 2005 to build unity and community across racial and socioeconomic strata through basketball in Connecticut.
The organization continues its intense local focus while its outreach now stretches nationally and globally. Which is entirely appropriate considering its inspiration harks to Belfast, Ireland when Evans invited boys from two Catholic-only and Protestant-only high schools to form one basketball team. Their bond through shared love of the sport, along with their ability to come together as one unit despite bitter, violent, generations-long differences will always inspire FCP’s mission.
FCP brings together diverse communities in three meaningful ways:
- Basketball Court Repair. FCP firmly believes the appearance and functionality of an outdoor court are crucial, that places where basketball is popular should feature updated facilities, bright paint and an inviting atmosphere, and that the repair and subsequent use of these facilities can be a shared activity between communities.
- Student-led High School Clubs. FCP considers itself lucky to have some of CT’s best and brightest student-athletes at the helm of their clubs. Each is paired with a nearby community basketball coach, a youth team or another organization (YMCAs, B+G Clubs, etc). The clubs support the FCP’s effort with equipment drives, refurbishment support, and camp participation.
- Community-centered Tournaments & Camps. FCP puts its newly finished courts to immediate use. Whether it’s a 3-on-3 tournament or full court 5-on-5, the organization hosts tournaments for all levels of players, inviting food trucks and spectators from neighboring communities, as well. At their camps FCP puts boys and girls from diverse backgrounds together on basketball teams for a week. Every camp activity—from drills to games—is done in team format (no individual drilling). By the week’s end, their goal is for each team to be a unified group.
The organization’s work is apparent across dozens of refurbished and brightly colored courts throughout Norwalk, Bridgeport, Stamford, and New Haven. And numerous tournaments and camps busy those very courts with positive energy, participation, and cooperation. These numbers continue to grow, and so does Full Court Peace’s impact.
The obstacles Full Court Peace was formed to bridge aren’t limited to Connecticut and as such, its efforts aren’t either. Recent projects include Wind River Indian Reservation (Wyoming), Rucker Park (Bronx NYC), Coney Island NYC, and Detroit. And global efforts extend to Cuba, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
We at CAISSON are fortunate and honored to be involved in just of few of these projects and we continue to be humbled and inspired by Full Court Peace’s work and resulting impact.
We would strongly encourage anyone similarly inspired to learn more about Full Court Peace or to get involved by contacting Mike Evans (203-606-9549, firstname.lastname@example.org, fullcourtpeace.org).