Monday, April 11, 2011

Urban Youth Impact

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to help out at a 3 on 3 basketball tournament held in the heart of West Palm Beach at Coleman Park. The event was hosted by Street to Street and Urban Youth Impact (, with some fine cooking from the folks at Big Heart Brigade and local residents who participated in a family recipe, "cook-off". The day started off with a wonderful heart-felt message from UYI founder, Bill Dobbs, for all the volunteers who were on site to help set-up for the hot day ahead. Then as the morning got longer, and the temperature hotter, kids started to pour in. The basketball tournament was exciting as those of us in attendance were witness to homegrown talent of West Palm's toughest neighborhoods. My role was to organize "The Kids Zone" and entertain all the younger kids who were not old enough to participate in the basketball event. Going into the day, I had no idea what to expect but I felt assured that most of the people who committed to me that they would show up to help out would indeed show and for the most part they did. However, I had no idea how many kids would be there. After a slow start, they began to pile in and as the day heated up (it was very hot), so did the action in The Kids Zone. It was wonderful to see the sense of community among those who came out to support this event. From local elders to college and teenage volunteers, a wide diverse group of people participated in many different ways supporting the younger generation. If I close my eyes, I can still see the smiles and hear the laughter of the kids and volunteers who came out and participated in the days events. I (Paul Gozzo) am looking forward to the next event with Urban Youth Impact and The Big Heart Brigade wherever they may be!

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