YSU promotes hope with hoops

On Feb. 22, Youngstown State University’s Beeghly Center will play host to the 10th annual Game of Hope — a basketball game that serves as a fundraiser for the Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley and helps support chronically and terminally ill children.

The teams competing in the game will be comprised of local politicians, community leaders and other important figures.

Anthony Spano, founder and executive director of the foundation, is the person primarily responsible for organizing the Game of Hope. He said that as a nonprofit, the Hope Foundation relies heavily on community support.

“If it wasn’t for the volunteers, the board of trustees and the community as a whole, the foundation would not be where it is today,” Spano said.

Andrew Scarmack serves on the board of trustees for the foundation. He assisted Spano in organizing the event.

“This is a great community event. It gets local people involved from politicians, all the way down to teachers, to people who own their own businesses. It brings the community together sponsoring a great event for the locally terminally ill children in the valley,” Scarmack said.

The event was always received with open arms by YSU, even from its inaugural game.

“We had a good idea, and I already had the relationships on the campus, so there really wasn’t much red tape. It was a good cause. People were willing to work together for a good outcome,” Spano said.

The Game of Hope is the largest fundraiser for the foundation. It has raised almost $90,000 over the course of its existence.

“Ten years is a long time. It’s been a long haul with the event. It’s expanded exponentially. When you can have an event going for ten years that’s a good thing,” Spano said.

The event opens at 2 p.m. with the game starting at 4 p.m.