On Aug. 27, 16 kickball teams battled it out for bragging rights and to raise money for Sun Valley Youth Center (SVYC), a ministry in the heart of the Sun Valley neighborhood, the lowest-income area in Denver.
The center began with the help of Christian Reformed Home Missions and continues to be supported by Third Christian Reformed Church in Denver.
Carli Coleman participates in a kickball tournament for Sun Valley Youth Center.
Many churches from the metro-Denver area joined the tournament to support Sun Valley.
“We’re just trying to get the word out” said Kris Rollerson, executive director of SVYC. “My friends can play kickball, and they can pay $25 to enter the tournament. So we decided not to be fancy about this, but to be who we are about raising money.”
Each team contributed $300 to play in the tournament, a sport similar to baseball except that players kick a ball when “at bat” instead of hitting one.
Local businesses donated food and drinks, while SVYC provided the volunteers, park permits, and referees.
Some of the volunteers running the tournament grew up attending the center. Cierre Lucero, now grown, was a part of the Sun Valley after-school program.
“Right after school we could have gotten into trouble, but we were at the [center] instead,” said Lucero.
Lucero’s brother Chris also played in the tournament. “[The center] was our second home. Kris [Rollerson] always fed us,” he said.
The tournament raised $4,000.