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HomeAt Home & BeyondUnited Way’s Early Literacy Kickball Tournament

United Way’s Early Literacy Kickball Tournament

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United Way of Hernando County’s 7th Annual “KICK” Start to Early Literacy Kickball Tournament is going to be bigger and better than ever! The tournament is set to take place on Saturday, March 26th at Anderson Snow Park. Hosted by Centennial Bank, this year’s event will include a full kickball tournament, a food truck rally featuring Hernando County’s most popular mobile restaurants, and a touch-a-truck event featuring Monster Trucks, FOP trucks, and first responder vehicles for children to enjoy.

Each year 16 kickball teams compete in this single elimination tournament for a chance to win the Ultimate Traveling Trophy and the honor of being crowned “Champions of Early Literacy.” These teams are invited to participate and represent company partners of United Way of Hernando that align themselves with supporting local philanthropy. Field sponsors this year include Holmes Drafting Services and Carter Foreman, PLLC. The base run baller sponsor is PED-Stuart Corporation.

Yet in truth, all the competitors are winners as they support a worthy cause to get more books in the hands of children who need them. The kickball tournament’s purpose is to support early literacy and continue to provide Hernando preschool children free books to launch a home library and prepare them for kindergarten. All proceeds from this “KICK” Start to Early Literacy Kickball Tournament will benefit United Way’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, currently providing more than 1,000 Hernando children with a free book every month from birth to age five. The books are mailed directly to enrolled children regardless of their family’s economic status.

“Having access to books is something many families may take for granted. But in disadvantaged households around the world it’s not so easy and this can create roadblocks for learning. By improving early education today and giving access to programs such as the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, we can help pave the way for our community’s youth and families for years to come,” said Executive Director/CEO United Way of Hernando County Angie B. Walasek.’

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Each Kick Start team is represented by a “celebrity coach,” each of whom this year will be challenged to bring in votes from the crowd, to help them deter from and avoid a dip in the Dunk Tank. This family-fun day also will include face painting from Bene’s Career Academy, music from PJ the DJ, a bounce house, carnival games, Foto-Fun Booth, craft vendors, and a special performance of the National Anthem by Hernando’s very own vocalist Erika Iglesias.

“With this being our 7th Annual ‘KICK’ Start to Early Literacy Kickball Tournament, we recognize just how anticipated this event is every spring. Whether it’s a corporate team looking to play, a local leader expressing interest in becoming a celebrity coach, or residents asking about our raffle prizes, our community truly looks forward to showing their support for early literacy through this fun opportunity,” said Walasek.

Fans and supporters of the event can purchase a yard sign for $52 (sponsoring two children’s participation in the literacy program) featuring their name, logo, or even an pictorial face image to be featured at the event. These yard signs are limited and will be placed throughout Anderson Snow Park as objects to be found in a scavenger hunt. Find your sign, take a photo and tag United Way of Hernando County and #ISupportEarlyLiteracy. Corporate sponsorships and vendor opportunities are still available. To learn more about how your company can get involved and download the applicable forms, visit www.UnitedWayHernando.org/Kickball. For questions, contact Dominique Holmes at [email protected] or call 352-688-2026.

Event Schedule:
12pm: Food truck rally & touch-a-truck event begins
1:30pm: Kickball teams check-in
2:45pm: National anthem
3pm: Kickball games commence
6pm: Mascot fun-run

Volunteers are needed to help with score keeping, managing the kid zone, event set-up/take down, and more. All volunteers receive a free Live United T-shirt. Sign up now on Lend a Hand Hernando by visiting www.UnitedWayHernando.org/Volunteer.
To spread your own positive community news, send your good news to community reporter Megan Hussey at the Hernando Sun, [email protected]. Show Us Your Sunshine!

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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