The idea for Homeland Hoops began in 2015 when I visited the Balkans region for the first time. My parents are immigrants from former Yugoslavia (my father is from Bosnia and my mother from Serbia) and they took me to where they were from for a family vacation. My fondest memories were of the local parks and school playgrounds, which were gathering areas for the neighborhood children. I vividly recall how the basketball courts were in such poor condition, with bumpy concrete and banged up board and hoops. Chains or nets were nonexistent. Despite these circumstances, the children enjoyed playing amongst themselves and were passionate about basketball.
In the Fall of 2019, I got introduced to a program in my community called Full Court Peace (www.fullcourtpeace.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting and strengthening local communities through basketball. The organization was founded in Northern Ireland when a group of boys from a Catholic high school united with a group of boys from a Protestant high school to create one basketball team. I immediately thought how great it would be if I was able to help the underprivileged communities of former Yugoslavia in a similar way.