A first of its kind Midnight Basketball League officially kicked off Thursday night at the Davis Scott Family YMCA.

"We're happy to be in this league," said Dewayne Christopher Hammonds, one of the participants. "We're ready to get out there and have fun."

The new league brings together players from area churches to compete on the court every Friday and Saturday night.

From the uniforms to the equipment, the program is free and open to everyone in the community.

"We want to show people that you can do more than just be out on the streets at night," said Hammonds. "You can have fun as well, be uplifting and just continue to do good things in the community."

Councilwoman Ivy Taylor said the San Antonio Police Department, along with the YMCA and United Way came up with the idea a few months back as a way to curb crime in the community.

"In the summer, a lot of times kids don't have as many structured activities as they need and they have the opportunity to get in things that they shouldn't be," said Taylor. "Basketball is something they all enjoy. So, it gives them something to look forward to."

Chief William McManus said there are a lot of groups behind the new effort.

"I've never seen such willingness to come forward and start a program to benefit the community," McManus said.

The Eastside Promise Neighborhood Midnight Basketball League will run every Friday and Saturday night through August 4.