It’s not about Dick Vitale and has little to do with the hardwood.
This March Madness is all about the kids, and their futures, and we have members of the Bradley County Chapter of the NAACP and several local churches to thank. Leading the charge is the NAACP’s Community Connection which is one of the organization’s newest outreach initiatives.
The much-anticipated community event is called the 2011 March Madness Children and Youth Festival. It will be held Saturday, March 12, beginning at 1 p.m., and is being held in one of the most appropriate settings possible — the historic College Hill Recreation Center, formerly recognized by area long-timers as the Northeast Recreation Center.
Its well-deserved name change came months ago compliments of the Cleveland City Council whose mindset is to preserve the past and protect our heritage while balancing these priorities with a strategic look to the future as evidenced by the explosion of economic development and industrial growth taking place throughout our Cleveland and Bradley County community, and much of Southeast Tennessee.
As documented by area historians and known as well by native residents who call Cleveland their hometown, College Hill was once an all-black school that educated our community’s African-American children. The Recreation Center is all that remains of the former educational facility that struggled to survive through a series of fires.
The renaming of the youth-friendly facility as a College Hill remembrance was a deserving recognition of this historic structure.
And this is another reason the coming March Madness spectacular is a marvelous celebration — because it is all about our community’s young people and it focuses on their past, present and most importantly their future. To host it in such an historic setting is a rare opportunity to blend yesterday into today and merge both with tomorrow.
What is March Madness all about?
It’s about having some wholesome family fun in a safe setting while learning along the way.
The festival will include games and activities for children and youth ages 5 and older. For instance, those attending will enjoy face painting, karaoke, board games, Wii, a dance competition and a puppet show featuring the local talent of Becky & Company. That’s not all! How about some free food and door prizes?
The afternoon is a dedication to our young people, but it is also introducing a relevant theme to these same age groups. We speak of anti-bullying. Tips and information to address the impact of bullying and school violence will be featured. Too, local authorities and experts on bullying — an age-old dilemma that some believe is worsening — will be on hand to speak, and to educate, against bullying. A resource guide will also be available for those who face, or who have faced, bullying in their schools or neighborhoods.
Initiatives like March Madness that focus on our children and young people are what adulthood is all about.
Because adults who recognize the problem and the needs are those who are getting behind these types of kid-friendly programs.
We applaud March Madness.
We thank organizations like the NAACP, its many outreaches and local churches for stepping up.
Your leadership is making a difference.
Questions may be directed to the local NAACP office at 423-614-6946 or e-mail Demetrius Ramsey at email@example.com.