FLINT TWP. — Regardless of the final score, every one walked away a winner from the Barry Saunders Classic basketball game held last Friday night at the Carman-Ainsworth High School gym.
The annual event, hosted by Men at W.O.R.K. is a major fundraiser for the group mostly made up of fathers of CA students who rely on proceeds to sponsor several community events including free movie nights, a Father’s Day Picnic and the popular Winterfest musical and charity benefit featuring Santa Claus which gets the entire school district involved in gathering donations of canned goods, warm coats and toys for needy families during the holidays.
At its inception, the annual basketball game was played against the Channel 12 No-Stars, a basketball team made up of members of the local TV station. Last year, the opposing team was made up of members of Grand Blanc Middle School.
This year, Men at W.O.R.K. took on a team made up of members of the Flint Township police and fire departments. Game referees were two familiar faces – Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff and high school principal Rory Mattar.
This was the 5th annual year for the Barry Saunders Classic basketball game, which is named in honor for a former school board member who passed away in 2008.
The event included concessions, entertainment by a clown troupe a 50/50 raffle and prizes including passes to the University of Michigan-Flint Recreation. Center, an autographed Detroit Lions Football and various gift cards. There also was a half-time free throw contest for the kids.
Men at W.O.R.K., short for Working on Relationships with Kids, started many years ago as a C-A early childhood program in an effort to get more fathers involved in their children’s education. As those children transitioned through higher grades, Men at W.O.R.K. expanded its scope until it became a pre-K through 12th-grade program.
Men at W.O.R.K. meet monthly to plan activities to uphold its phliosophy that involvment by both parents in a child’s education produces more positive long-term outcomes.
In recognition of their efforts, Men at W.O.R.K. won a 2004 Children’s Champion Award from Priority Children, a local non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children in Genesee County.