A total of just over $60,000 was raised on June 15 to benefit the youth programs of Strathcona Community Centre in Vancouver's downtown eastside, including $15,000 from our club. Centrepiece of it all is the youth basketball program, which has grown since its launch in 1972 and now serves about 500 at-risk youth from this low-income neighbourhood. New this year is funding for a post-secondary school scholarship and several bursaries for high school youth in the area, which were awarded on Hoop-a-Thon day by Julie Mantle, President of the Rotary Club of Vancouver Sunrise, and Past-President Diana Theman who chaired the selection committee. 

It was an exciting day in the Strathcona gym, with hundreds of young participants plus Rotary teams, VIPs and other visitors all shooting free-throws to help raise funds...


... for these programs. The Vancouver Police had a team of shooters, as did Strathcona alumni and staff. Four teams of Sunrise Rotarians competed for bragging rights, some of them salted with "ringers" like young Matthew on Abigail Turner's team and players from King George Secondary school. A team of shooters from the Rotary Club of Vancouver Quadra was organized by Graham Salvail, that club's President-Elect. Individual celebrity shooters included Chris Gallus from Global TV News plus a member of the Canadian National basketball team, a recently-retired player from the BC Lions football team and several others. Each team had obtained pledges based on how many free-throws each player could sink in 60 seconds. Competition was hot! Principal organizers of the event were Rotarian Gary Chomyn and Strathcona staff member Ron Suzuki.

Following a hot dog lunch, teams of Strathcona alumni played against current teams, which was fun for everyone.

This is the seventh consecutive year that Sunrise Rotary has helped raise funds for the Strathcona youth programs. A few years ago, proceeds were used to purchase a new electronic scoreboard for the gym, in addition to helping defray the costs of uniforms, coaching and travel to away games. The community centre ensures that each youth participant has ample opportunity to learn about teamwork, community, helping others, and good citizenship. The Rotarians who were there were very impressed with how clean-cut, courteous and considerate these young Canadians are, in spite of the social problems that abound in their neighbourhood.

A great Rotary program in action!