For many years the SERC-NARHO (Southeastern Regional Council National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials) basketball tournament, held annually during Martin Luther King holiday weekend, had been a staple in housing authorities’ youth programs. Due to COVID-19, they could not host a basketball tournament, but they did commit to keeping the education component alive. They had a Zoom competition on Saturday, January 16, 2021, and the cost was $100 per housing authority. Participating Housing Authorities included Selma, Opp, Birmingham, Laurel, and Bowling Green.
Organized by age groups (i.e., 12 and under, 15 and under, and 18 and under), the competitions focused on a variety of categories. Categories included:
- Art design depicting what housing means to them;
- Why the Edmund Pettus Bridge should be named after the late Representative John Lewis;
- Sports essay on favorite player;
- Creative I have a dream speeches;
- Naming a person in their community they admire and why;
- Why Black Lives Matter and voting is important;
- Focusing on the first African-American President, Barack Obama, participants read excerpts from his memoir Audacity of Hope and identified why his presidency was important;
- Designing an outfit, shirt, and/or head attire that acknowledged a prominent figure; and
- Identifying which college they would like to attend and why.
First place winners received airpods. Second place winners received a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and third place winners received an echo dot. All winners also received an award medal with the event information on it.
“As for myself, I felt that I was learning something new each time a new participant spoke,” said facilitator Camille Tinsley. “That’s the part that I enjoyed most, learning something new from someone younger than me.”
“I had a great time facilitating the 15 and under group,” said facilitator Amber Turner. “We were able to experience a group of talented and bright young kids! Each child thoroughly researched their chosen topic and boldly delivered their presentations with such enthusiasm and conviction. Thank you for allowing me to be apart!”
Overall winners by housing authority were calculated by the number of wins. Each first place win received 3 points. Second place finishes received 2 points and Third place received 1 point.
- 1st place- Bowling Green
- 2nd place- Birmingham
- 3rd place- Opp