Charity basketball game raises more than $4K for at-risk youth in Columbus

Charity basketball game raises awareness for at-risk youth

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Local doctors and lawyers laced up their sneakers to play some basketball and raise funds for at-risk youth on Saturday, April 23.

The first ever "Doctors vs. Lawyers" game was hosted at Carver High School, and on Tuesday, April 26, organizers announced more than $4,000 was raised to provide homeless and foster care students in Columbus with food and educational resources.

Dr. Tania Edwards, President of the Columbus-Fort Benning Medical Society, said her organization already planned to compete against the other host group, the Fountain City Bar Association. 

Once both groups saw a growing trend in at-risk and homeless youth across the country, Edwards said they decided to support kids in similar situations across the Chattahoochee Valley.

"We said, 'How can we make meaningful?'" Edwards said. "We need to do this for a cause."

Before the start of Saturday's game at 2 p.m., both organizations set up an initiative named P.A.T.H, or Professionals Aligning to Help.

The project's mission is to soon collect donations and start awarding scholarships to a select group of students, who may belong to the population of nearly 1,100 homeless students in the Muscogee County School District. 

Katonga Wright,  president of the Fountain City Bar Association, said at-risk kids have little to no voice in matters of receiving the materials they need to stay in school. 

"They just don't have the parents there to support them," Wright said.

Players for both teams signed up as volunteers. Both rosters included a local judge and attorneys with the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, along with several area doctors. 

Both Edwards and Wright said they hope this friendly rivalry blossoms into an annual tradition, raising awareness for those students they believe are most in need in Columbus. 

"It's just our way of giving back, to help these children," Edwards said. 

"Anything we have and we raise will be a much needed benefit to anybody we give it to," Wright said. "We'll be looking for bigger and better things next year."

The lawyers got the upper hand this game, winning by a final score of 51-30.

Event organizers said in light of the loss of Carver High's baseball coach David Pollard, the PATH initiative plans to donate a $500 scholarship to Pollard's 9-year-old daughter.

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