Elmwood Park teens pack Civic Center for Saturday Teen Night
Pat Mentone tries to block a shot by Anthony Gonzales at the Elmwood Park Recreation Center during Teen Night on Jan. 12. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 25, 2013 11:50AM
ELMWOOD PARK — Elmwood Park High School basketball players enjoyed some extra time in the gym Jan. 12 while taking advantage of the Teen Night at the Elmwood Park Civic Center.
“My whole basketball team comes here to practice,” said Giuseppe Rubino of Elmwood Park. “We practice and we play for Elmwood Park High School. Most of our varsity players are here, too.”
Rubino along with several other teens from eighth to 12th grade get a chance to play basketball every Saturday night during Teen Night. Brought to the community by the Parks and Recreation Department, Teen Night is held from 4:30 to 9 p.m. at the Civic Center, 2 Conti Parkway.
“A lot of kids are looking for stuff to do on Saturday nights, so we decided to have a teen night,” said recreation instructor Ted Gruber.
Gruber reported that between 50 and 60 kids have come out every week. The Teen Night program is planned through the rest of January, but organizers may continue the program through February.
Police officers and instructors supervise the weekly event, which also serves up pizza, tacos or hotdogs, added instructor Lauren LaPuma.
“We’ve been having good responses that kids have somewhere to go instead of causing trouble,” Gruber said.
Attendees also can play bags and Gruber hopes to bring dodge ball to an upcoming Teen Night as well.
Dom Gerace recently took advantage of the Teen Night activities, even though he is an Oak Park resident.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “My buddy lives in Elmwood Park and invited me.”
Organizers said some of the teens have been attending Teen Night every week,
“This is a great place to meet new people,” said Dominic Marcisz of Elmwood Park. “I like playing basketball.”