March Madness inspires a great cause for at-risk youth

Over 80 supporters from the Tampa Bay area geared up in colorful basketball jerseys, striped knee-high socks and sneakers ready to put their know how to the test to support underserved, at-risk youth served by the USF Health Ybor Youth Clinic (YYC).

Held on Saturday, March 8, 2014, the first annual Ybor City Alley-oop for Youth, a basketball-themed scavenger hunt to raise funds for the USF Health Ybor Youth Clinic, was a slam-dunk!

“We thank the agencies, individuals and volunteers who came together to support the Ybor Youth Clinic – a much needed resource in our community. The event gave everyone a great opportunity to learn more about the YYC and to explore our historic neighborhood, Ybor City,” said Dr. Patricia Emmanuel, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and the Lewis A. Barness Professor of Pediatrics. USF Health Pediatrics supports the medical clinic staff at the YYC.

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We had a full court press. Advocates from throughout Tampa Bay and USF’s mascot Rocky the Bull put their game faces on to support at-risk youth.

Friends, co-workers, families, patients, community organizations and businesses hit the streets of Ybor City for a two-hour hunt, covering several blocks with only a list of clues and checkpoints to guide them.

The teams completed various wacky tasks ranging from striking basketball poses in front of Chico Garcia’s Viva La Ybor mural to taking group selfies with strangers while eating Cuban sandwiches, all hoping to score the most points as they raced to the finish line for the winning title.

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Teams must complete tasks such as a photo challenges. Here’s a great group shot posing with Mary at the popular spot Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor City.

The high-energy hunt ended with an awards reception and after party at Ybor City Wine Bar on 8th Avenue. Guest speaker Cole Tyler Holt, a 21-year-old patient of the USF Health Ybor Youth Clinic, kicked off the celebration.

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Using his experiences to help young adults overcome their own struggles, Cole advocates for the HIV-infected, homeless and LGBT communities the clinic aims to provide care to.

“The Ybor Youth Clinic is a welcoming and comfortable environment,” Cole said.  “The staff helped me with all my needs, from providing HIV care to addressing my housing situation. They even gave me some of the basics like socks, a tooth brush and a new pillow case for the rest of my time in the shelter.”

All proceeds from the event benefited the clinic’s operation to provide specific healthcare services to young people who have been underserved or felt unwelcome in traditional healthcare settings.

Take a look at the winning teams. To view more photos from the event, please visit USF Health’s Flickr here: http://bit.ly/PxJ7w5

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The Fab Five takes home the winning victory for the most points scored.

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Councilwoman Lisa J. Montelione (in red) came out to cheer on competitors at the all-day event. Here she congratulates second place winners, the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative.

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Team Adolescent Medicine from USF takes third place. Go Bulls!

Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications