‘Beat The Pro!’ celebrity basketball game to benefit charitable causes


— The Meade Senior High School Alumni Association has partnered with Dominant Force, a sports, training and entertainment company that hosts sports camps, clinics and fundraisers, to host the fourth annual Meade Alumni Beat The Pro! basketball game on April 12, 2015 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Meade Senior High School in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Kenny Gray, owner of Dominant Force and vice president of the Meade Senior High School Alumni Association, is actively involved in community outreach. He is instrumental in bringing local celebrities, retired professional athletes and current professional athletes together to help raise money for homeless students and two other organizations.

“My primary mission is to support the students,” Aziz Abdur-Ra’oof said.

Ra’oof, now retired, played football at University of Maryland and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. He will be playing on the pro basketball team during the fundraiser.

Meade Matters will be a recipient of funds and items collected at the basketball game. Twenty years ago, Joyce Wills founded the group to support students who attend Meade, which is located in Anne Arundel County. Wills and volunteers help to provide school supplies, feed students, supply clothing and provide necessities and other items. She mobilizes coworkers to collect everything from canned goods to prom dresses. The educator explained that some youth she encounters are homeless and live in local hotels, while others are from families coping with financial challenges.

“All of the children are not homeless. Many of them are, but some of them are just [from] very low income-families and they need help,” Wills said. “The list gets larger every year. My program is year-round.”

School supplies, gift cards, new or gently used clothes ranging from size zero for girls to 2XL for males are welcome contributions. Attendees of the charity basketball game can bring donations with them on April 12.

A 50/50 raffle will also be held at the Beat The Pro! event. Ticket sales revenue will be used to purchase gift cards for the families of critically ill children who utilize services provided by the Casey Cares Foundation, which is a non-profit organization. The late Abraham Scrivner (“Hammy”) participated in Casey Cares programs, during his brain tumor battle. In 2014, the foundation introduced an additional program called Hammy’s Heart. The new program was created in memory of 10-year-old Hammy to feed children and loved ones of critically ill children. Hammy’s mother, Gina Truesdale, joined forces with Beat The Pro! The upcoming event will enhance her ability to spread the word about Hammy’s Heart and raise funds.

“It’s just been exciting to be able to get support and make people aware of the program that’s available,” Truesdale said.

Walter Kirkland, chair of the March of Dimes for Prince George’s County is partnering with Gray as the fundraiser’s emcee. As a part of an effort to motivate the public to get involved in the March of Dimes March for Babies walk on April 25, 2015 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Kirkland will speak about the importance of being educated about the March of Dimes and its work, especially in cases of Latinos and African-Americans.

“In Maryland, 1400 babies are born every week. One hundred seventy-one babies are born prematurely. One hundred twenty-three babies are born with low birth weight. Eighty-two babies are born a week to teen mothers. Ten babies die before their first birthday. This is every week in Maryland,” Kirkland said, citing the National Center for Health Statistics.

Additionally, the Meade Mustangs will be honored at the Beat The Pro! event. The basketball team won the Maryland State 4A Boys Basketball Championship in March.

Names are still being added to the celebrity basketball fundraiser lineup. A car show will be held and a magician is scheduled to perform. All ages are welcome to attend. Tickets can be purchased online at http://btp-meade-alumni-tickets.eventbrite.com and at the door.