In a world of negative news regarding social housing I was delighted that the Ottawa Citizen took the time to see a positive project that reflected on the talent and optimistic energy here in Bay Ward’s community housing. The Balling 4 our Brothers Basketball Tournament was a great example of many agencies coming together to help those who need a little mentoring and opportunity. The kids in the tournament were mostly kids. They want to play sports and succeed in life; It’s not rocket science.
Investing in activities for community members with less access to organized sport programs pays off with dividends in the form of healthy productive members of society. Physical activity is key to building confidence, improving mental health, and giving opportunities for positive social interaction. You don’t need to listen to me you can hear from the mentors like OCH ambassador and former NFL player, Christo Bilukidi, and RCMP Constable Omer Mahamoud. Both grew up in social housing and gave motivational speeches to the tournament participants. They were truly inspirational. I want to thank Youth Services Bureau (YSB) including the West End Youth Motivators, City of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing, Ottawa Police Services and Ottawa Public Health who worked together to put on this fabulous event at Michele Heights Community Centre in Marlene Catterall Park. Special thanks to organizer Idris Maloba from YSB. It takes a village/community to raise a child and this was a prime example of the success that comes when that happens.