The Housing Authority of Bowling Green, Kentucky recently won first place in the SERC-NAHRO (Southeastern Regional Council National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials) virtual education competition. For many years, the SERC-NARHO basketball tournament, held annually during Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, had been a staple in housing authorities' youth programs.
Due to COVID-19, they could not host a basketball tournament, but instead committed to keeping the education component alive by conducting a virtual learning online competition. Participating Housing Authorities included Selma, Opp, Birmingham, Alabama; Laurel, Mississippi and Bowling Green, Kentucky.
"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 a part!"
"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."
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 air pods. 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.
Overall winners by housing authority were calculated by the number of wins. First place went to Bowling Green, 2nd place to Birmingham and 3rd to Opp housing authorities. Each participating housing authority, and young person benefitted from the very worthwhile virtual learning competition and opportunity.