February 24th – 26th, more than 300 residents of Atlanta’s Pittsburgh Community participated in a celebration of African-American arts, music, food, sports, and more at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Atlanta.
The weekend- long celebration kicked off with an awards luncheon honoring NBA legend Dale Ellis, and local community volunteer/radio personality Carol Blackmon with The Center’s Lifetime Achievement and Community Service Awards respectively.
Following the luncheon, The Center opened its doors and arms to the community as volunteers and staff from King of Hoops®, Atlanta Xplosion Football Team and Atlanta Battelcats Basketball Team served over 160 meals to local homeless men and women.
Saturday festivities included a day of music and spoken word by local African American artists, and a Pro-Amateur Basketball Tournament sponsored by Nike Inc. and King of Hoops. Admission to the Basketball Tournament was free with two canned-good donations. Over 300 canned goods were donated to The Center for its food pantry.
For the grand-finale, The Center commissioned local artists from The Kaleidoscope Outreach Project to sketch a mural and invited local children to paint-in the artists’ sketch. The mural, entitled “Planting Seeds For the Future”, features George Washington Carver planting seeds in a garden and those seeds are growing into children. The mural will be placed in the Center’s Community Garden in the next two weeks.
” The purpose of the weekend was to highlight key achievements from African American that have paved the way for many of the adults and children in this community, and re-introduce Atlanta to the variety of programs we offer,” says Captain Sandra Pawar, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.
According to Pawar, recognizing Dale Ellis and hosting the Basketball Tournament was in celebration of the contributions African-Americans have made to sports, and engage the community in the many sports programs at The Center. Similarly, honoring Carol Blackman and featuring local musicians was in recognition of African-Americans contribution to music and arts and in hopes of engaging more local men and women and children in similar programs at The Center.