Fundraising for Marshall Community Center Youth Programs and Basketball Courts | News

The George Washington Carver Community Center is gearing up for its Spring Fling Food & Flea Market event, scheduled for this Saturday, to raise money for the center’s summer youth program and basketball court repairs.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Community Center, located at 2302 Holland St.

“We’re trying to finish the basketball courts and raise money for summer programming so kids have something to do over the summer,” said Angelita Jackson, co-director of the community center.

Currently, basketball court conditions are undesirable due to cracked pavement and growing weeds. The community center would like to repair the courts to make them available to neighborhood children, many of whom can be seen playing basketball on the neighborhood street.

“That’s what we want instead of them playing on the street – getting them off the street,” Jackson said.

“They could come over there and play on the community court,” she said of the center’s desire. “It’s for them. It will be up to them.

“We want to continue to be able to provide them with a safe place to play,” she said.

Jackson said not only did they want the basketball courts to be a place for kids to play, but they also wanted them to serve as a platform for mentorship.

“Mentors can share these courts with them,” she said. “We are looking for mentors to come and play alongside them. We are looking for future mentors who are willing to share with our children.

The Carver Community Center is also looking forward to expanding its summer youth program this year.

“Certainly we want to do basketball,” Jackson said. “We’re going to have three-on-three youth basketball this summer, something different for the kids and some reading; and we want to focus on the arts for the summer.

Last year, the summer youth program consisted of a week-long day camp that offered a variety of activities including art, reading and choir.

“We had the choir last year and (would like to) do some plays over the summer,” Jackson said. “We are focusing on a three-week camp. We would like it to be longer, but for now we will focus on a two to three week camp for the summer. That’s what I know we can afford, given the resources we have.

Saturday’s event aims to help the community center in this endeavor. Vendors are invited to participate at $25 per booth.

“We’re always (welcoming) vendors for our flea market and then we’re looking for people to drop by and browse,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of things.”

Clothing will range from $1 to $3. Furniture and household items will also be available for sale.

“We will have vendors inside who will also be selling their own soaps, bath oils, jewelry and specialty items,” Jackson said.

Food will also be available for purchase.

“We’ll also be selling crawfish platters and chicken and hot link platters, from 11 a.m. until it’s all gone,” Jackson said.

The event will also include activities for children, including a pre-Easter egg hunt, coloring and games.

“(Adults) can shop and kids can have Easter egg hunts and play free games while they shop; and they can color while they shop,” Jackson said. “We will have something for everyone.”

All funds raised will benefit the local program, and the community center invites the public to come out and enjoy a day of food, fun and shopping for a good cause.

“We need to be able to get the community to buy into this to kick off the summer program,” Jackson said.

“Our goal for these courts to be completed is by June 1, early in the summer,” she said. “That’s our goal, if they can help us do that.”

Those interested in being a vendor at the event can call or text (903) 930-8325 to reserve space.

“Vendors can come in and sell stuff,” Jackson said, asking everyone to bring their own table. “Vendors can set up inside or outside if they wish.”

Jill E. Washington