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Empowering Our Youth Through Sports During Empowerment Week


Classic Pic    While most of the activities surrounding Empowerment Week centered around Downtown and a plethora of celebrity visitors, one event set to empower our youth, took place in west Birmingham at the Wenonah High School Stadium for the 2nd Annual District 7 Classic.
The brainchild of Councilman Jay Roberson, the District 7 Classic is a series of football games, not between rival high school or college teams, but between youth teams, ages 5 to 12. The games and all the activities surrounding them are designed to give the kids an opportunity to experience playing sports on a higher level. Both teams participating in the Classic usually play their games at city parks with a smaller capacity and with fewer amenities than the high school stadium.
The teams, the Wenonah Young Dragons and the Roosevelt City Spartans, are from two youth sports organizations, the Southern Community Association and the Southwest Alliance Association.
Not only did the kids get to play on a bigger playing field in the high school stadium, the first time for most of them, but they looked good doing it. Over 200 players from both programs were wearing brand new Russell uniforms sponsored by Councilor Roberson. “You look good, you feel good, you play good,” said Roberson.
The Councilman also went on to thank the parents for getting their children involved in the youth sports program and the coaches for supporting the classic and all the other activities. “Youth sports and recreation are an integral part of our community. Programs like this keep our kids out of the streets and away from negative activities,” Councilor Roberson said.
The activities began with a parade showcasing all the players. Cheerleaders and other community organizations also participated. The games were played in front of a larger crowd than the previous year and was attended by former University of Alabama and NFL player Gene Jelks.
Saturday marked the second year for the District 7 Classic and the Councilor, who is passionate about empowering our youth through sports, hopes that the classic will continue to grow for future youth football players to come.
Councilor Roberson also participated in other Empowerment Week events – on Friday he joined NBA greats Robert Horry and Bob Lanier on a leadership panel at Jackson Olin High School, which was the subject of youth violence a day earlier, to discuss education, financial literacy and community involvement.  The program at Jackson Olin was presented by BBVA Compass and NBA Cares.