Despite a setback with its main fundraiser, a basketball tournament to benefit local youth still came together, though without its major fundraising component.
Sean Close was the organizer of the 2014 Holiday Hoops for Hope Basketball tournament and social, hosted at the University of Manitoba’s Frank Kennedy Centre and Jan. 4 and 5. Close also plays on the Wahoo men’s basketball team, which hosted the event.
"The idea started with just giving us something to do," Close said. "I’ve also been working with RaY for a number of years so I thought why not make it into something that could benefit somebody?"
RaY, or Resource Assistance for Youth Inc., is a non-profit street-level outreach program for youth up to 29 years old living on the street. Located at 125 Sherbrook St. in West Broadway, Close used to work with RaY in IT support.
"Young kids get kind of lost in the cracks sometimes," Close said. "With me working there, I kind of saw it first-hand. I don’t know if a lot of people know about RaY, and I thought this was another way to promote the organization. They do good work."
Close said the tournament went well, and team Buckets won the trophy, but as Close was on his way to the Casa Dos Acores hall (55 Higgins Ave.) to set up for the social, he got a phone call he didn’t expect.
"A car took out a hydro pole somewhere on Higgins, which knocked the power for the entire block out," Close said. "I guess I Hydro had been working on it for about two or three hours and no power, and the hall decided to close its doors."
The social was going to be the main fundraiser for the weekend. The tournament didn’t raise any money, but Close said in an email that, after paying for the losses for the social, he hopes to donate "a couple hundred dollars" to RaY.
"It was a lot of work, but we don’t have any plans to reschedule anytime soon," Close said. "We’ll hold any prizes we have left because I’d like this to be an annual thing."
For more information about RaY, visit rayinc.ca
To see statistics from the tournaments and to watch for news of a possible future social, visit wahooball.ca