Hoops for Hope celebrates 10 years, now larger than ever
by Matt Shinall
Nov 11, 2012 | 1166 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For 10 years Hoops for Hope has been raising funds for area children through a recreational basketball game each December. This year, the event commemorates a milestone with unprecedented growth.

Since the event’s inception in 2002, Bartow County’s 10-and-under boys and girls basketball teams have faced off in a charity tournament kicking off the regular season. Beginning this year, the Dec. 1 tournament will expand to three gyms with three simultaneous tournaments showcasing the talent and abilities of Bartow County’s 10-and-under boys and girls as well as the 8-and-under boys and girls, and the 12-and-under boys and girls.

Hoops for Hope is an outreach of the Bartow County Employer Committee and HR Council raising funds to benefit Bartow Give A Kid A Chance, the Etowah Scholarship Foundation and scholarships for GED courses.

“The county recreation department decided to open it up to not only the 10-and-under, but also the 8-and-under boys and girls as well as the 12-and-under boys and girls. So that increased our numbers from 175 or so to about 550. And that means we’re at three different locations,” said Jennifer Stephens, Georgia Department of Labor employment marketing specialist. “It’s going to be a big event. We will definitely need volunteers at every location. ... When we’re looking at three locations, that also means we’ll need three times as many concessions. And also, three times the door prizes.

“We always give the children that participate a T-shirt, which is our single biggest cost, and a goody bag with coupons, gift certificates and promotional item — pens, pencils, notepads, stickers. And of course, instead of 170, we’ll now need T-shirts and goody bags for more than 500.”

The Bartow County Employer Committee and HR Council is a partnership between the Georgia Department of Labor Cartersville Career Center and area business leaders and human resource professionals. Last month, the employer committee added another award to their list of achievements associated with their annual efforts. At the state employer committee awards, Bartow’s team forced judges to create a runner-up award because the race was too close to call.

“We’ve hosted this fundraiser for the last 10 years and have won awards for Committee of the Year, Project of the Year and Community Service Project of the Year for this very event and the impact it has on the community,” Stephens said. “We always hope to increase each year, the amount we give back. Of course, over the past 10 years we’ve been doing this our donations have gone up and down. But if we have the funds available we like to give back.

“It seems education is sort of our focus, coming from the labor side of things, all of that ties together. The Employer Committee is a partnership between the Department of Labor and the business community, so it’s all about raising up a qualified, educated workforce.”

For Committee Chair Deborah Sexton, the organization’s ability to give back is her main concern. With three times as many participants and facilities to account for this year, the Bartow County Employer Committee is seeking donations and volunteers. Volunteers wil help organize and run the event and donations are needed in various forms, including monetary and in-kind.

“Having three gyms, that’s going to be an obstacle we have to overcome. We’d like to see businesses come out and volunteer. They can wear their business’ T-shirt, nametags, and people could see their business taking part of this community event,” Sexton said. “Each year, we see a lot of excitement, happiness and family gatherings. It’s a place you know you can go and have fun and there’s no agenda except watching the kids play.

“As we grow, so will our contributions, that means we can give back that much more to the community. Especially in this economy, we just need to be ready and prepared for when people have that need and we have funds in place to donate because you never know what’s around the corner.”

In-kind donations are needed for door prizes and goody bags. The Bartow County Employer Committee is seeking promotional items, coupons and gift cards.

For more information on how to donate or volunteer, call the Georgia Department of Labor Cartersville Career Center at 770-387-3760 or call Sexton at 678-640-2692.