Denzel Spearheads Plan To Save Mount Vernon Sports
The rallying cry in Mount Vernon is “save our sports.”
And Sunday is the deadline to raise $300,000 in order to put fall sports teams on the field.
With help from a generous Hollywood star, it looks like the goal will met.
Football coach Ric Wright knows a lot about winning – and even more motivating young people. Lately his team has needed pep talks – more than usual.
“Yeah, it’s just been real stressful not knowing if we’re gonna have sports or not,” said athlete Andre Gaynor.
For Gaynor and his teammates it has been a summer of uncertainty. Will they take the field this fall?
The sports funding crisis began in June, when Mount Vernon voters defeated the school budget not once, but twice. The district responded by eliminating funding for sports – every team, from tennis to track.
A race against the clock began to save sports through private donations.
Film director Jeff Cooney kicked things off by donating $25,000 – and he doesn’t even live in Mount Vernon.
“I think if the tables were turned, you’d feel the same sense of loss, of desperation. Would you want your kid turned away from an athletic program?” said Cooney, who resides in Bronxville.
Now, a famous Mount Vernon native is stepping up to the fundraising plate.
“[He] still considers himself a Mount Vernonite, Denzel Washington has pledged $100,000,” Mayor Clinton Young said.
The athletes also have raised many thousands of dollars, in part by telling donors what sports means to them.
“How to hold yourself as a young man, it grows you up, it builds you,” Gaynor said.
“These kids are committed,” Wright said. “They do it in spite of whatever obstacles they have in front of them.”
They’re still counting, but it looks like enough money has been raised to put teams on the field this fall.
Supporters need to raise an additional $700,000 to fund winter and spring sports.
If you would like to help:
The Mount Vernon Educational Foundation is accepting donations to save the sports program at Mount Vernon High School. Donations may be sent to:
Ronnie Cox, President
PO Box 476, Fleetwood Station, Mount Vernon, NY 10552.
The following events have been scheduled to raise funds:
Aug 13: Fundraiser at Palmer’s Crossing Restaurant, 1957 Palmer Ave, Larchmont; From 5pm on; 50 percent of all proceeds go to Save Our Sports.
Aug 15: “Bowling Bash and Celebrity Fundraiser” at Homefield Bowl, 938 Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers; MVHS Grad Ben Gordon (Chicago Bulls) will bring NBA and celebrity friends to this event, which will also feature music, food, and auctions. Tickets are $125; email email@example.com for more information.
Aug 24: Reggae Concert at Memorial Field, Garden Ave and Sandford Blvd, Mount Vernon; Knicks player Stephon Marbury will appear at this concert, which begins at noon. All proceeds go to Save Our Sports. Tickets are $35, available at the gate.