Holyoke Boys and Girls Club big winner in teens vs. Team Velis benefit basketball game

Local News

Courtesy: Office of Senator John C. Velis

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Team Velis may have lost, but the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke came out the winner in a basketball challenge.

State Senator John Velis organized and played in a basketball game against Holyoke teens at the Club Wednesday night. After his team lost 2-1 in the best of three series Velis handed over a check for $500.

The hour-long event was a best of three series that entertained a large audience of Club members and
staff. After winning the first game, Team Velis lost the following two games. The Boys & Girls Club
Team was made up of Holyoke High Schoolers and longtime Club members who frequently play basketball during the Club’s drop-in gym hours.

Velis was inspired to create the challenge after visiting the Club and engaging with members. “When I was first visiting the Boys & Girls Club as a candidate for Senate, I couldn’t keep myself from challenging kids in the gym to some games. Time passed, the trash-talk continued, and finally I called up Eileen Cavanaugh, President of the Club, and said ‘let’s organize this thing’”, said Senator Velis. “In my experience, nothing brings people together like sports and it was a phenomenal community event. There’s something really special about going beyond just donating and actually engaging with the kids and having some fun.”

“We can’t thank Senator Velis enough for not only the donation but for coming to the Club to meet
and play with our youth. Since taking office, Senator Velis has been a staunch supporter of Boys &
Girls Club. He understands what an incredible resource Clubs are to communities. We had a great
time and can’t wait to welcome him back to the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club,” said Eileen Cavanaugh,
President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke.

Velis said win or lose, he planned to make the $500 donation. Future games are in the planning stages.

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