A volleyball and throwball tournament to raise funds for schools in Detroit will take place on Saturday, July 29, at Firefighters Park in Troy.

A volleyball and throwball tournament to raise funds for schools in Detroit will take place on Saturday, July 29, at Firefighters Park in Troy.

Photo by Swathi Jeeda

Volleyball and throwball tournament to raise money for Detroit schools

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published July 27, 2023


TROY — Pampa Kannada Koota, a local Indian cultural organization, is inviting the community to join them for a volleyball and throwball tournament to help them raise money and resources for schools in Detroit.

This is the second year that the organization has hosted a fundraiser of this kind. It will take place at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 29, at Firefighters Park in Troy.

“This is the second year we’ve done this fundraiser. Some of our students educate students in Detroit. They said many schools need financial help. We had about 18 teens participate last year, and we raised about $1,000. We also did a literacy program. This year we set a larger goal for fundraising,” explained Veena Kulkarni, a committee member of Pampa Kannada Koota. “We donated to Carleton Elementary last year. This year we hope to donate to two schools. We want to raise $3,000 this year.”

She added that it has yet to be determined which particular schools will benefit from their support this year.

Sneha Chandrasekar is a junior at Troy High School and is one of the Pampa Kannada Koota members participating in and helping organize the tournament.

“It’s for a very good cause,” she remarked. “Living in Troy, education has always been a big part of our lives. We noticed that our schools are really well maintained. We get district-issued iPads. We have access to a lot of resources to help our education. When we saw that there are so many schools in Detroit that don’t even have things like up-to-date textbooks, we saw we needed to do something to help. We hope others will help too by playing or just donating.”

Swathi Jeeda, a sophomore at Troy High School and a fellow participant and organizer, agreed with Chandrasekar, saying that people in the community should be aware of those who have to work with less in the field of education and help them whenever possible.

“As students of the Troy School District, we have a bit of a privileged life and live in a bit of a bubble, so it is easy to think that everyone in Michigan has the same opportunities we do,” Jeeda said. “But there are people just a few miles away who are struggling. We want people to join us at the event. They can have fun playing volleyball but also help some people who can use a hand.”

The event will be organized into two brackets, featuring teams of eight.

“Volleyball will be co-ed. There will also be a throwball game, which will be all girls. You catch the ball and throw it back. It’s a little less intense than volleyball, and it will be a separate tournament with a separate trophy at the end,” explained Kulkarni. “This event will be based on our outreach to local volleyball teams. One of our students plays and coaches volleyball and is reaching out to local teams. We have six players and two subs on each team. We will generate a bracket depending on how many teams register. We will provide free breakfast for the players. We will have six courts in Firefighters Park.”

A school supply collection also will take place at the tournament so those attending can help contribute even if they do not play on one of the competing teams.

“If people want to donate money or school supplies, we have a donation box at the tournament,” said Kulkarni.

The members of Pampa Kannada Koota say they want to ensure they are working to make their community a better place while staying connected to their heritage.

“I’m also Kannada, which is a language that originates from a south Indian state,” Chandrasekar said. “Being away from India and growing up here can be a wonderful experience. I got to learn a whole new culture when I moved here. Being part of Pampa allows us to stay connected to our history and connect to those who have similar experiences to us.”

“Pampa Kannada Koota has always been there for us,” added Jeeda. “I’ve been in it longer than I can remember, since I was 3 or 4 years old. It was always a space to celebrate our culture.”