MOUNT VERNON — In basketball, the “charity stripe” is a term used to refer to the free-throw line.
For the Mount Vernon boys basketball team, the term means something completely different.
The Yellow Jackets dedicate their time and effort to various events throughout the year. These events raise funds not just for the team, but also for local charities.
December’s dodgeball tournament, for instance, raised $1,350 for The Village Network.
“It tends to be a good fundraiser for The Village Network,” Mount Vernon boys head basketball coach Kurt Kaufman said. “It’s helped them out, and our kids feel good about doing that.”
Ever since coach Kaufman was brought in at Mount Vernon, he says he wanted to do something to give back to the community. Six years ago, it was a pig roast.
“We tried to have it at a football game,” Kaufman explained. “But we were always fighting with the weather, and we had a hard time getting the students involved.”
A dodgeball tournament, Kaufman knew, would do the trick. Now the students are anxious to compete, and the team members are active in signing people up.
“My team just went out there and had fun. We didn’t do too good, though,” junior Brad Fenton said of the tournament.
“It becomes pretty competitive,” Kaufman said. “But it stays in perspective with what the event is for.”
The Village Network focuses on the treatment and care of troubled youth. In many cases, young people are placed in foster care through The Village Network. The local branch in Mount Vernon specializes in crisis assessment, residential treatment and transitional living.
In December, over 150 players of all ages participated in what has become an annual event at Mount Vernon High School. Teams of eight square off for T-shirts and trophies, with proceeds going to The Village Network.