Mayor Greg Ballard has a busy schedule this weekend. Saturday marks the Mayor's Fourth Annual Peace Bowl and Latino Soccer Cup in addition to the Mayor's Veterans Appreciation Day. The three events are part of Ballard's initiative to strengthen various communities in Indianapolis.
Mayor's Fourth Annual Peace Bowl
This Saturday marks the mayor's Fourth Annual Peace Bowl single-elimination basketball tournament. The event is taking place in conjunction with the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, Indy Parks, Peace on the Streets and United Water.
Ballard's intentions for the event involve bringing sportsmanship and teamwork to youth by engaging them in a positive activity. The Peace Bowl is scheduled to take place at Washington Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 4.
While the teams competing consist of youths aged 10 to 16, an exhibition game featuring Ballard's basketball team is scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m. Unlike years past, Ballard will not be playing due to a knee injury. However, Ballard will still make an appearance at the tournament.
The event originally started with Indy Parks' spring basketball league. Having a tournament in the summer gave the league's members a chance to get back together one last time and play before school started.
Since the inaugural tournament, the number of teams playing has doubled in size from 15 to 30 teams. While the event has grown since it first started, Douglas Hairston, director of the mayor's Front Porch Alliance, said the focus of the event isn't about its growth, but about engaging youth with a positive activity.
"It's not about how much it grows," Hairston said. "It's about the kids and introducing them to their mayor. You'd be surprised to see how many don't know who their mayor is."
The Front Porch Alliance is part of Ballard's initiative in building partnerships with community groups in order to improve the quality of life within Indianapolis neighborhoods.
"The mayor wanted to highlight positive activities available to youth" Hairston said. "We want the message to be out that this is a great city and we can have a good time."
Mayor's Fourth Annual Latino Soccer Cup
The Mayor's Fourth Annual Latino Soccer Cup will take place Aug. 4 to 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Northwestway Park. The Mayor's Latino Affairs Department will sponsor the event in addition to Pepsi, United Soccer Alliance of Indiana, Pike Youth Soccer Club and Community Through Youth Sport Foundation.
Although the event is free for youth participants, adult teams are also invited to compete for a monetary prize in a more competitive atmosphere.
According to Thomas Geisse, executive director for Community Through Youth Sport Foundation and United Soccer Alliance of Indiana, the event has grown dramatically over the years and is part of "Ballard's initiative as a community-building event geared toward the Latino community."
Mayor's Veterans Appreciation Day
Ballard will be one of the keynote speakers at Veterans Appreciation Day this Saturday. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the American Legion Mall and will feature free food for veterans and their families in addition to live music and booths advertising veteran services available in the city.
Ballard and a number of high-ranking veterans will speak to participants at 1 p.m. Ballard will stay at the event after his speech to speak with the veterans in attendance.
Matt Vincent, a representative from Indianapolis Veterans Services, said the event is a good place for veterans to learn about the support services available to them in addition to strengthening the veteran community in Indianapolis.
"I think that it's imperative that veterans come to this and see what services are available to them," Vincent said. "Many veterans aren't aware of the veteran support services available in Indianapolis."
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