USA, Chicago, IL, December 16, 2009. Children try to find vowels in the dribbling ./ spelling game. Founded ten years ago by Rob and Amy Castaneda, "Beyond the Ball" is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving kids and parents a healthy place to play together, whether it be in an after-school program or during an summer series of playground days, like last year's wildly successful "Project Play." The predominantly working-class neighborhoods of Little Village and North Lawndale have no park, and little public space for families that is safe from the gang violence endemic to large US cities. Beyond the Ball's approach is personal, and takes a long-term view - both Rob and Amy are neighborhood residents, and have experienced first-hand the anger of gang members. The group arranges for school facilities to be open late, such as this gym at Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Elementary, and welcomes student volunteers who also get credit from Chicago Public Schools for doing community service. Many of the teenagers working with "Beyond the Ball" are comfortable as mentors, because they've been in the program before. It is easy to see the pride they take in teaching and taking responsibility for the younger kids, and how such a positive approach to neighborhood building can work. Photo for Hoy by Jay Dunn.