United Community Corporation and the Weequahic Park Sports Authority are teaming up to host a three-on-three basketball tournament and resource fair to benefit the youth of Newark and their families on Saturday, June 25, at Weequahic Park.
The basketball tournament is open to youth ages 11 - 17. The event itself is open to the community.
All winning team members will be awarded a Sony PlayStation 5. Check-in starts at 10 a.m., and the tournament tips off at 11 a.m.
The tournament features two brackets based on ages (11 - 14 and 15 - 17).
Teams must pre-register by Thursday, June 23, by contacting Community-Based Violence Intervention Program Director Charles Mainor at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 201-522-8848.
While basketball will be the focus, Mainor hopes that bringing the city's youth together can be the first step in starting a conversation about violence in Newark.
UCC's portion of the event is sponsored by Amerigroup.
"We are going to make it fun for the youth to learn. They may not even understand the help they are receiving at the moment," Mainor said.
"Even though it is a basketball game, that is just the hook to get them here. Once we have them, UCC Executive Director Craig Mainor and the Weequahic Park Sports Authority will talk to these kids about what we have to offer them."
Mainor's Community-Based Violence Intervention program operates to prevent violence among the city's youth as part of the larger statewide Community-Based Violence Intervention program funded by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.
"We want to show the youth that someone cares about them and make them comfortable to come to talk to somebody," Mainor said.
In addition to the basketball tournament, over 20 vendors will be attending the event to provide necessary resources to the community.
United Community Corporation will have vendors promoting food assistance, energy bill assistance, and rental/mortgage assistance.
UCC is still seeking vendor participation. Any service vendors interested in attending can contact Mainor at email@example.com or by calling 201-522-8848.
"I'm hoping that we can reach that family that is in need but afraid to ask," Mainor said.
"We hope that family can find a vendor or vendors to provide the services they truly need. I'm certain that there are people that can benefit from the services that will be there Saturday. We want to be in a position to reach the community and help the community."
The Weequahic Park Sports Authority played a key role in successfully planning such a large-scale event with so many benefits to the community.
"This collaboration is important because Weequahic Park Sports Authority deals with the younger youth," Mainor said.
"The youth are a main focus of the violence that is currently happening. They have a close relationship with the youth, and we have the services available to help the youth."