Harker hosted a basketball tournament to build awareness of the Hi5 Youth Foundation in the athletic center this past weekend. Organized by Akhila Ramgiri, grade 12, it was the inaugural event for the organization’s U.S. offices. The organization, founded in 2015 and based in India, is dedicated to improving the lives of children through sports – mainly basketball. The event included free throw and 3-point shooting contests, and food and soft drinks were available for purchase. Eight teams from various high schools participated in the event.
“I got involved when the founders of the organization were visiting the Bay Area (where they lived before they moved back to India),” said Ramgiri. “They told me about what they were doing, and because I have played basketball my entire life, the cause appealed to me.”
About 300 people attended the event. “The event was great,” said Ramgiri. “It was the first event that Hi5 USA has had, so it was a great way to kick off! The organization’s motto is ‘children helping children.’” They want the adults in the organization to provide the infrastructure, but they want high school kids like myself to be the driving force in helping the kids in India. So, to mobilize high school kids, we decided to hold this tournament to seek out kids like myself who are passionate about basketball and may want to volunteer or get involved.
“The players and spectators had a lot of fun and it was a great time. This was primarily meant to be an awareness event rather than a fundraiser, however, the money that was raised will be put toward resources such as clothes and basketball shoes for the kids in the Hi5 programs in India.”
Ramgiri has seen the results of the organizations efforts firsthand. “I went to visit the kids for one week during the summer,” she said. “The impact that I saw was incredible. Some of the children have really turned their lives around through basketball. It provides them a means for expression and a way to seek something bigger for themselves and gives them hope that they are more than their family’s income. I would strongly encourage anyone who is passionate about sports or helping children to consider joining the Hi5 USA team or if they had the chance to try to make it out to Mumbai, India, to experience this firsthand.”