It was another channel surfing filled evening for basketball player Ferras Hayek when he came across Kraft Project Play’s commercial.
Little did he know, a month and a half later, his online application would get his community park a grant of $25,000.
“I am a huge basketball fan. I have been playing basketball forever. When this opportunity came up, I thought yeah why not, we are going to play here for a long time. My little brother is going to start playing there soon so might as well give [the youth] something to look forward to.”
The Kraft Project Play nationwide competition chose White Oaks Park as part of the top four parks in Canada to receive funding.
Hayek has played at the court for the past 12 years, so reserving the conditions is very important to him.
The main focus is to transform the court into a safer environment.
“Right now, the ground is uneven [and] the nets are lower. So, we are trying to put the new nets and the ground. That is the main goal. We are also hoping to put some recycling bins around and maybe plant some trees…the environment is our concern as well.”
Renovations will encourage youth to stay in their local community instead of traveling to the Fanshawe area to play.
Hayek’s greatest struggle was not regarding funding, but finding someone to take responsibility. He says the court was not owned by the city at first so there was little attention to the damages.
“When we realized that the school boards did not really have interest taking responsibility, the city came and did a great job at stepping in. They were kind of taking over the court and saying okay we will take it as our own project.”
The city is involved in an upcoming event on August 12 to promote the competition and gather supporters.
Canada-wide voting will run from August 17 till August 18 for the grand prize of $250,000.
More information can be found here.