If you’re one of those people living in the dark about the Mount Vernon sports program, and you’re ignoring the reality that it might actually not compete this season, let the photo above be your awakening.
I’ll admit, initially I couldn’t imagine Mount Vernon would actually have its sports eliminated after the district cut athletics from of the budget this spring. But today it finally hit me. Standing near the off-ramp of the Cross County Parkway in Fleetwood and watching the players approach hundreds of cars and asking for donations really opened my eyes.
Mount Vernon had all of its athletes, not just basketball, deployed around the city to collect donations the last two days. In all, they raised $18,000, which is a nice pull. But it’s only a fraction of the $950,000 the district needs to have sports this school year; they also need $300,000 by Aug. 10 to have fall sports.
Today’s event was part of the T.E.A.M. Mount Vernon “Save Our Sports” initiative, which was launched by Mayor Clinton Young. There was support today from the city’s fire department, thanks to wrestling coach Craig Ramsey, who is a fireman.
Most motorists I saw today contributed a few bucks. Some more. A few drove by and acted like they didn’t see a smiling and uniformed 6-foot-5 Odayne Clarke waving at them. I understand how things are with the economy (especially now that I’m a tax-paying homeowner). Fortunately the players did, too. Overall there was a positive vibe to the whole thing, and there’s still a good sense of confidence the money will be raised.
“We’re Mount Vernon,” Knights sophomore Jabarie Hinds said. “We don’t get beaten easily.”
In some ways, I think this is going to make Mount Vernon sports teams better this season. Assuming there are sports, the only motivation an athlete would need is to think back to today when it was nearly 100 degrees and they were standing on the side of the road asking for change. Andre Gaynor, a football and basketball player, talked about “appreciating” what he has. That’s a great value for these kids to learn. It’s just unfortunate this is how they had to learn it.
Every little bit counts for the Mount Vernon program. If you’re able to donate, please send checks to:
Mount Vernon Educational Foundation Inc.
P.O. Box 476
Fleetwood Station, Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 10552
(please write “sports” in the memo section of the check)
As far as fund-raisers go, here are some other events coming up to raise money:
“Ben Gordon Weekend”
August 14: Concert outside City Hall Plaza
August 15: Ben’s Bowling Bash at Homefield Bowl in Yonkers
August 16: Ben Gordon Family Day at Hartley Park
For information on all the events, email: firstname.lastname@example.org