“The time is always right to do what is right.” Therefore, when PYB decided to host its 1st Annual Middle School Tournament, a Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 9.39.55 PMDonors Dinner, and a day of service at Logan Triangle, MLK Weekend seemed like the right time.  

This action-packed weekend started at 9:00 am at the Germantown Friends School with student-athletes, coaches, and parents navigating the labyrinth of a campus between Greene Street and Germantown Ave. Thirteen middle school girls and boys teams, and 16 travel/club teams, from throughout the city and region participated in a weekend of basketball and learning. The goal of the tournament was to not only have teams compete in a weekend of high-quality basketball but to also provide an educational platform young people to reflect on and ignite conversations about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s life’s work. Whether it was the triple overtime semi-final thriller between Friends’ Central and Bala Cynwyd Middle School, or the post-game academic workshops where opposing teams had open dialogue about the collaborative importance of basketball, and the history of and current struggle with race relations in our country; PYB delivered on its mission of providing an opportunity for young people to develop their potential as students, athletes, and positive leaders.

After the final buzzer sounded on Sunday evening, the PYB staff hustled around the corner to Mt. Airy where Amy and Michael Cohen (friends and supporters of PYB; Amy also serves as PYB’s Volunteer Academic Advisor), and 14 other Mt. Airy couples co-hosted a fabulous house party and PYB fundraiser. The evening started with Amy Cohen, Kenny Holdsman, and Eric Worley sharing a bit about the PYB mission to the gathering of over 50 people.  Several local restaurants (Weavers Way Co-Op, Federal Donuts, and Goat Hollow) donated delicious food and two of our summer camp coaches, Jayla Greene and Antonio Woods, tended the bar, which contributed to the overwhelming success of the evening. PYB was able to raise over $8,500, thereby generating tremendous awareness and goodwill towards its mission.

Not even ten hours after leaving the Cohen’s home, the PYB staff was back to work at the Logan Triangle for a day of service in Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 9.48.46 PMpartnership with Harold O. Davis Memorial Baptist Church and the Goldenberg Group.  Over 150 volunteers gathered, including Logan community members, several Ballard Spahr lawyers and friends, and other individuals dedicated to the legacy of Dr. King.  Participants collected 72 industrial-sized bags of trash on the southwest portion of the Logan Triangle, which included the exact parcel on which PYB is slated to build its state-of-the-art youth sports center!  Additionally, the PYB Team of Peter Kaffenberger, Marvin Kilgore, Kyle Lafferty, Rob Meyer, and Diana Venezia organized educational activities regarding Dr. King’s important work.  The entire afternoon was an enriching experience for everyone involved and a valuable opportunity for PYB to connect with community members that play an important role in the success of its mission.

Thank you to everyone involved in this incredible weekend including: Loraine Morrill with iHeart Radio, Power99 Studio; Mike Jensen with the Philadelphia Inquirer; Katie Bergstrom and the entire GFS staff; Amy and Michael Cohen, the evening’s co-hosts, and attendees; Harold O. Davis Memorial Baptist Church and The Goldenberg Group; and all of the weekend’s volunteers.

By MaryKate O’Brien, Community Engagement Coordinator

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