March 18 was a crazy-great, March Madness Day!  More than 100 players on 25 teams came together for the Live Civilly March Madness Tournament of Giving!  Girls and boys as young as 8 years old played all day in the tournament to raise money for live civilly nutritional assistance programs.  Many of live civilly’s nutritional outreach programs are offered through a collaborative partnership with the Moorestown Department of Parks and Recreation.  This long-standing relationship has brought nutritional support to local youth since 2011.

While the Tournament started at 9:00, junior-ballers arrived early to warm up and practice their 3v3 skills.  The youngest players took to the courts, going head to head, playing exhausting round after round.  Teams like the Roaring Destroyers and the Warriors – Splash Brothers and Chicken Noodle Hoops battled for top seed.  Each bracket was filled with great players and terrific sportsmanship!  The camaraderie on and off the court was evident as players and fans alike cheered on all teams and every player.  Opposing coaches were seen high fiving each other as their players battled it out on the courts.  Post-game, players congratulated each other and cheered each other on during the 3-Point Contest.

The winners in each bracket did not have an easy journey to the top.  In the junior baller category, the 3rd/4th Grade Team Baskethounds took top seed.  The 5th/6th Grade team, The Squad, battled relentlessly to get the most wins.  The WMBA dominated the 7th/8th grade bracket and gathered spectators from all of the other courts as they battled it out.  And finally in the High School/Adult bracket – who says age isn’t an asset?  The mature men sporting Sean Fischel Connect Shirts showed the high schoolers what they have to look forward to!  Thank you to each and every player who came out to play!  Every game was fun, every game was fast and every game outpaced the one before it!  Talk about a fun and exciting day!

Many thanks to the Department of Parks & Recreation for their partnership in this event.  From Debbie Flick (Queen of the Courts) and Dan MacDougall (Score-Master) to Paul Grossman, James Hilton, Rich Corbin and Theresa Miller, the Recreation staff was instrumental to the success of the day.  Thank you to the live civilly volunteers who helped to man the concession stands: Anu Bezwada, Holden Zimmerman, The Coffey Family, Erin O’Sullivan and Paige Coleman.  Thank you to the referees who generously donated their time and expertise: Julian Austin, Rodney Wilson, Marty Eichorn, Lou Varga, Mark Sampson and Tom Gallagher.  Thank you to Jersey Mike’s Subs and Noodles & Company for generous giveaways and thank you to Dick’s Sporting Goods for supporting the event.  And thank you to our wonderful Board – Ricky Lovelace (Basketball Aficionado and Tech Wizard!) and Susannah Zimmermann (Volunteer Guru) for all of their hard work coordinating and organizing!  Thanks also to Christopher VanSciver (Educator Extraordinaire), Toni Famer (Garden Queen) and Joe (AKA Big Toe) for all of their support.

The Tournament of Giving was designed by live civilly and the Department of Parks & Recreation to help provide funding to existing nutritional outreach programs provided by live civilly.  For more than three years live civilly and “Moorestown Rec” have provided a safe haven, complete with healthy after school snacks, Homework Help and adult mentors who have the safety and best interest of these youth in mind.  Over the last three years, the ExCELS Snack Program – a live civilly partnership with the Moorestown Ministerium, the Moorestown Jewish Association and MEND — has grown.  Nearly 200 young people attend Open Gym each week.  Providing healthy, nutritional options for young people is part of building “the whole person.”  Good nutrition promotes better physical and emotional health.  live civilly has also provided healthy lunches to youth who attend the Recreation Summer Camps on scholarship.  In an effort to ease the burdens of local families over the summer, live civilly provides a daily lunch and snacks for the duration of the five week camps.  live civilly is proud to have provided over 2,000 lunches over the last three summers.

Funds raised from The Tournament of Giving will assist in the development of new nutrition and cooking classes in collaboration with the Department of Parks & Recreation.  Nutritional Outreach programs will include live civilly “Make-N-Take” dinners, “Cooking from the Pantry” and “Fresh From the Garden” classes.  Each program will be geared toward teaching youth basic nutrition and fundamental healthy eating habits.  By developing fundamental nutrition and cooking skills, young people will learn how to make healthy, inexpensive and easy meals that they can make for themselves and for their families.  Providing “consumer sciences” outreach, live civilly helps young people learn nutritional self-sustainment and skills for life.

For more information about this or any of our upcoming programs email contact@livecivilly.org.  Thank you for your support!