Basketball and community

This past few days was one of the most tiring and rewarding days so far this year. We (Tibetan Canadian Cultural Center) were able to successfully organize one of the best summer basketball tournament with the ProAction Cops & Kids (charity arm of the Toronto Police Service). Our expenses were minimum as the event was funded by ProAction Cops & Kids and the teams also did not have to pay any registration fees (usually around $350 per team).

I love these tournaments. I have been playing in both the summer and winter tournament for the past five years. It is a time to catch up with fellow Tibetan youths as we all barely see each other due to academic and work commitments. But for the duration of the tournament, we play hard on the court and enjoy our time off the court. My friend and I did not play this time as we wanted to make sure our sponsors were treated well since this was a first time we had actual sponsors. So far, the feedback has been mostly positive on both our TCCC fan page and our event page. But this goes beyond just individual relationships and the “Likes” on our page. It is the act of further strengthening the community by building relationships with younger and at-risk youths. Parkdale can be a tough neighborhood for youths, especially for newcomers. Through this tournament, one game at a time, we get to know each other and I know this is just a beginning of many more amazing events.

              Team name: Dream Team :) The Champions!

The tournament was held on Thursday and Friday. On the following Saturday (July 7, 2012), the community had gathered together to celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 77th birthday. Both the winners and runner-ups were recognized on stage and given prizes by the Superintendent of 14 Division, Mr. James Ramer. My friend and I, along with the awesome volunteers (see picture below) were awarded certificates. The two of us also received a plaque for organizing this tournament from the 14 Division. Personally, I had informed the Toronto Police Sergent that it would be best if I received it off stage because I was just carrying out my responsibilities as one the Executive Board members of TCCC (I take the lead in sports and youth engagement). But as it happened, I can only say I accept this award on behalf of all the Board members for all the work we have done together.

                                        The Awesome Volunteers!

The community gathering and the night party (we were up until 4am) helped us raise over $36,000 (net should be around $32,000). As tired as some of us were and as sad as it is to see something come to end, it is an incredible feeling to see the community coming together to support the initiatives we put together. Having sat on the Board for a year now and working with many volunteers, I know most of us do it because we feel it is necessary and have been fortunate to have the time to commit to it. When the community supports our initiatives and we are able to raise such large amount, it really feels great and keeps us motivated to continue doing what we do. It feels like we can make a difference and this empowered feeling takes volunteerism to a whole new level. Do come back later to see our new plans ;).

                             

                             For the Tibetan Canadian Community Centre!