The PrivateBank Norman Bobins Leadership Award
Rob and Amy Castañeda could have left Little Village in 1998 when neighborhood gang members learned the couple had talked to police after witnessing a crime. Gang members retaliated, setting the Castañedas’ home on fire and threatening the couple’s lives. But instead of fleeing for safety, Rob and Amy stayed in the neighborhood and committed themselves to making it a better place.
Amy, a teacher, transferred to an elementary school closer to home. Rob began coaching the school’s basketball team. After Rob opened the school’s gym for practices on Saturdays, more and more children flocked to the school for a safe place to play ball. Relationships built on the court expanded across the community and a new program - Beyond the Ball - was born.
Beyond the Ball empowers young people to transform their community through service, learning and sports-based youth development. Today it incorporates 10 different programs, ranging from community basketball leagues to multimedia courses. Located in Little Village, where ideas and attitudes toward gang culture develop at an early age, Beyond the Ball begins targeting youth in kindergarten and uses basketball to teach personal and social responsibility, build a healthy community and create positive peer networks.
For more than 10 years, they have mentored thousands of youth in the Little Village and North Lawndale neighborhoods which have garnered national and international recognition for innovation in youth development. In addition to running Beyond the Ball programming, Rob and Amy serve as consultants for other Chicago sports-basedyouth development programs.
For their contributions to countless young people and their communities, Rob and Amy Castañeda are the 2011 recipients of the PrivateBank Norman Bobins Leadership Award.