SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The annual “Hoop Up Springfield Basketball Tournament” and Summer Job Fair was held earlier Saturday.
Dozens of young people from across Western Massachusetts came out to Springfield College to show their skills on the basketball court.
Ryan, 12, said, “We are coming here to play basketball!”
“I think its important for us to be here because we can learn and have more opportunities to play,” Jace, also 12, explained.
Nehemiah, 12, added, “My favorite part is just playing basketball with my friends and watching these kids! They are amazing!”
This event isn’t just about basketball, but it’s also a job fair. People can learn about summer employment opportunities and interact with employers. The Hampden DA who hosts the event says it’s a slam dunk and all for a good cause.
Anthony Gullini, Hampden District Attorney, said, “We are focused on exposing them to work and careers and getting them employment in the summer because we know that staying away from the bad stuff in the summer and engaging in positive stuff like work is going to set them up for success in their futures.”
DA Gullini adds that studies have shown that summer jobs help reduce crime amongst teens and young adults and some motivational speakers there to connect with the kids, hoping many walk away from the event, inspired.
President of the Follow My Steps Foundation, Kashawn Sanders, said, “If you can see it you can be it, even if you are the first person in your family to do things, you can still always make the best of any situation. You just have to work a little harder, have that plan, and execute it.”
And of course, since the event was held at Springfield College, people who participated were also able to get a glimpse of the on-campus college experience.