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Students organize charity pickleball tournament

By Hannah Scott

Published 12:31 PST, Fri January 27, 2023

Two students at Cambie secondary are putting together Play for Hope, a pickleball tournament to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. 

Vice-principal and English teacher Sarah Ardat says Grade 12 students Jed Tan and Joar Hussain were motivated by an assignment and a connection with teacher Linda Wong, who lost three sisters to cancer.

“Every year I like to challenge my Grade 12s to think about the greater good of our community. They were given an English assignment that required them to think about issues in the community and come up with ways to eliminate and mitigate them,” says Ardat. “The purpose of this assignment was really about giving back—to think of ways to perform acts of kindness, but also to be challenged to think further about how they can create a ‘pay it forward’ movement.”

Wong suggested raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society. She is also an avid pickleball player with connections to the pickleball association.

“After a few conversations with her, the two boys decided they would hold a charity pickleball tournament as a way to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society,” says Ardat. “She is their inspiration.”

The community event will allow people to try out the growing sport of pickleball, while raising money for a good cause. The planning process has been a learning experience for Tan and Hussain, who received help and support from Wong as well as the president and vice-president of the pickleball association.

“An event like this is not an easy task,” says Ardat. “Preparing for this tournament proved to have a sharp learning curve, but they gave it 100 per cent. They learned about the charity, what it takes to run a tournament—not just run it, but run it well—(and) how to communicate with various parties.”

Tan and Hussain were able to raise awareness within their social circles, and will share the message with a wider community during the tournament.

“I think the other challenge was the question I posed to them—whether this assignment was naïve. The boys responded that they believe being kind is a choice and anyone can be involved and help their community if they want to,” says Ardat.

The students took on many organizational tasks, including booking the gym, spreading the word to community members, asking local businesses to donate raffle prizes, building a team of volunteers to help run the event, and learning about the sport.

“They first opened registration to Pickleball BC members, then opened it up to the community,” says Ardat. “They did this through a promotional video, and had members register by scanning a QR code.”

The Play for Hope tournament will take place at Cambie secondary on Saturday (Jan. 28). The fundraising goal is $2,000, of which $1,600 has been raised through registration fees. 

Community members can support the cause by donating or buying raffle tickets at the event. People can also make donations via the Canadian Cancer Society website, adding a note for the donations to go to “Team Inspired Relay for Life,” which is Wong’s team for the Relay for Life Fundraiser.

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