On Saturday, rapper Snoop Dogg made dreams come true for hundreds of Illinois children when he launched a Chicago-based division of his Snoop Youth Football League. The league, already successful in California, will have six chapters in Chicago and 1,500 participants.
Snoop spent time with the more than 100 kids who attended the kickoff event at the Chicago Indoor Sports Facility, high-fiving fans, dancing to his songs and expressing his high hopes for the league’s impact on Chicago children. “I want to give them something to fight for. At the end of the day, they’re our future,” he said.
And he has no qualms about reaching out to kids in high-crime neighborhoods — in fact, they’re his target demographic. “We’re going to the toughest areas,” he said. “We’re going to deal with them face to face.”
Football is important to the rapper, who played the sport when he was young. He believes it helps at-risk kids keep their lives on track by giving them a positive outlet for their energy and emotions. His youth league, which is also a non-profit foundation, focuses on more than just football; the program teaches life skills and provides opportunities for teens in the form of empowerment and college placement programs, and has a strong support network of parents and coaches.
The league, which is open to kids ages 7-14, starts this month. You can help support the SYFL here.