Kids in Charlestown hit the court for a cause

Posted: 02/02/13 at 6:50 pm EST

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (WHDH) -- On Saturday, kids in Charlestown played in a tournament to help raise money for at-risk children.

It was part of the Boys and Girls club's annual "Youth Connect Unity Weekend." 7News is a proud sponsor of the annual event.

For many kids throughout Boston the Boys and Girls club is a place they consider home away from home.

“Yeah, I’ve been going to the Boys and Girls Club since I was six so I think I have a connection with a lot of the staff they are like family to me,” said a participant.

This year’s 14th annual basketball tournament brings together young people from all different clubs to be teammates on the same court.

“I’ve been going to the Boys and Girls Club for nine years it’s kinda like my second home. I get to play basketball and I also help around in my community, so it’s a great way to make new friends and do stuff for my community,” said another participant.

"I’ve loved it and they just stuck with me. We're like family,” said another youth.

Brandon Bass and Jason Collins from the Celtics were on hand to answer questions and share stories about how sports have helped shape their lives.

“Developing all the skills about team work, sacrifice, it's all about the team’s goal. It’s not about the individual and that with the team winning the individual accolades will come,” said Collins.

For many of these kids, this event can be a turning point, a start in the right direction because the money raised by corporate sponsors including 7News goes directly to those who need it the most.

“These are young people who are getting arrested. They’re coming in contact with the police department they are gang involved, they are carrying weapons, they are selling drugs, they are victims of community violence. It’s really kids that are at risk coming in contact with the police department,” said Andrea Perry, ex-Executive Director Youth Connect.

The idea is for them to walk away from the day with new connections and relationships that reach far beyond their neighborhoods.

On Saturday alone, they raised $70,000 for Youth Connect in Charlestown.

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