Boston kids shoot hoops for a cause at Unity Weekend

BOSTON (WHDH) - Children from Boys and Girls Clubs across Boston gathered for a basketball tournament Saturday to raise money for youth programs in a decades-old tradition.

The Unity Weekend tournament at the Ansin Youth Center in Charlestown is sponsored by 7News. WHDH-TV owner Ed Ansin helped create the tournament in 2000, which has hosted thousands of children over the years and raised more than $1 million.

The tournament raised $65,000 this year. That money goes to Youth Connect, which helps identify vulnerable children.

“They get referrals from police officers of kids who have been arrested or been exposed to violence or who might be having problems out in the community, kids who are struggling and need that extra support,” said Youth Connect Executive Director Andrea Perry.

“They’ve helped me a lot with school,” said Ariana Alarcon, who was playing in the tournament. “I was struggling a lot and they helped to get me a tutor so that I could get my grades up.”

And the competing in the tournament is its own reward, participants said.

“I feel like it’s so much fun because it’s different ways for different people to try and connect with one another,” said Priscilla Davila.

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