A Better Chance of Westport sponsors community basketball event

If playing competitive three-on-three basketball and raising money for a good cause sounds like a good time, Staples students will be able to do both come Friday, May 20. On that day, the Junior Board for the A Better Chance House, an organization entirely run by Staples students, will host a fundraiser basketball tournament for A Better Chance of Westport. A Better Chance of Westport is an organization which, according to its website, looks to provide “young men of color with the opportunity to live… and to study” in Westport.

The event will take place in the Staples gymnasium between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. In addition to the admission fee for the games themselves, the Board will be selling wristbands embroidered with “Staples” on one side and the House’s logo on the other.

Greg Preiser ’17, founder of the Junior Board for the A Better Chance House, was approached by a member of the ABC House’s executive board to create a way for Staples students to get more involved in helping the House. Preiser was addressed because of his role as president of the Staples club ABCs of the Stock Market, which combines philanthropy and investing.

“The Junior Board was created with the vision of helping not only raise money for the A Better Chance House,” Preiser said, “but to also raise awareness about the House.”

The money raised from the fundraiser will go towards purchasing everyday supplies and services for the students residing in the House. “As a house with eight boys, we need a lot of different things,” Ali Sanoh ’18, a student in his second year of the program, said. “We do not have parents making us food and doing our laundry everyday… so we go through these things rapidly.”

In addition to the funds, members of the A Better Chance House are looking forward to the event because it will inform the community about their lives in Westport. “It helps get the word out that there’s a house of kids trying to make it in a wealthy community… It shows we like to have fun, too, and we’re just normal kids,” Sam Larkin ’17, who is now in his third year of living at the House, said.

The Junior Board, in cooperation with the members of the House, decided on a basketball fundraiser after witnessing the popularity of rec basketball and events like Dodge-A-Cop at Staples.

“Providing a fun, sports-related activity is a great way to get high school kids involved in supporting a great cause,” Lindsey Felner ’17, Junior Board member, said.

Despite high expectations for the event, members of the Junior Board are not quite sure exactly how many teams will show up, and as a result, they do not know how much money the tournament will bring in. “We don’t really have a target amount. We are just trying to have something this year and try to raise as much as we can,” Preiser said.

However, uncertainty in terms of numbers is not deterring the confidence of those who helped to plan it. “It seems that all the guys get really into the whole basketball thing, so I don’t see why people wouldn’t sign up,” Carly Chaskin ’17, another Junior Board member, said.

For many Staples students, this will certainly be an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a wide audience. For Sanoh, it’s about providing the community a chance to witness something great. “I think not taking my talents to this tournament would be an injustice to Westport,” Sanoh said.