Mayor Vincent Gray joined nearly one hundred youth and their families who are DC Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) recipients for the First Annual HCVP Youth Basketball Tournament, July 30 and 31, at the Mary Virginia Merrick Center in Southeast.

The DC Housing Authority planned the two day event as part of its Beyond the Voucher initiative, an ongoing effort to enhance the lives of individuals who receive rent subsidy. For this event, young people and their families enjoyed an exciting tournament and a host of life skills workshops offering valuable lessons on how to prepare for success and to give back to their communities.

Mayor Gray said, “Some of you may have ambitions to go all the way to the NBA. That’s a great goal to have; but, there are only 400 or so players in the entire NBA, so it’s a goal only a few will reach. I am very pleased to see that the DC Housing Authority has set up workshops in life skills that you can attend between games. Take advantage of these workshops. I believe the best thing that you can learn in life is how to make smart choices . . . both on and off the basketball court.”

The tournament drew support from community partners from across the District including Honest Tea, IITF Technology, Hope Findings, 100 Fathers, DC Department of Recreation, DC Arts and Humanities Council, Youth City and various private landlords who donated time and energy to the tournament.

DCHA’s Executive Director Adrianne Todman indicated that HCVP along with its city partners, the HCVP Participant Advisory Committee, landlords and private sponsors had come together to support efforts to engage youth. She said, “We designed this event to help inspire youth to reach their full potential through positive, educational, sportsmanship and team development. The goal is to develop good youth leaders as we develop better players.”

Boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 14 competed in games and performed cheerleading routines while their friends and parents cheered them on. Self-sufficiency workshops were conducted by local leaders and youth advocates who volunteered their time.