Sports

Saints live up to name off court | Prep sports feature

(Left to right) Interlake basketball players Austin Clark, Itai Schwartz, Alon Peres, Ayden Allen use collected items to make snack packs.  - Courtesy photo
(Left to right) Interlake basketball players Austin Clark, Itai Schwartz, Alon Peres, Ayden Allen use collected items to make snack packs.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

When Corey Ohayre became the head coach of the Interlake boys basketball team prior to the start of this season, he knew it would be a challenge to get the Saints near the top of a densely talented conference.

But he also knew he wanted the gains his players made away from the court to surpass anything they did between the lines.

"I want to have a relationship and go further with non-profit organizations every year," Ohayre said. "These kids are the ones that get to start it."

With that mission in mind, Ohayre and the Saints decided to connect with the Bellevue Family YMCA and its Family and Youth Leadership Program. The group helped each of the district's high schools organize and coordinate a summer reading program geared at middle school aged African-American boys in Bellevue. As part of their work with the Y, each school also executed a community service project.

For Ohayre and the Saints, that meant snacks, and lots of them.

Junior Austin Clark said the team started the project with modest goals before the entire Interlake community rallied to collect enough snacks to create around 300 snack packs, which will be given to Friends of Youth and distributed from their Redmond facility. On its website, Friends of Youth lists a $50 donation as sufficient to provide 10 snack packs, which puts the value of the items the Saints collected at around $1,500.

"We just handed out fliers and we didn't think that many people would bring items," Clark said. "But a ton of people did and there was a lot of support."

Clark's mother Michelle is on the Board of Directors at the Bellevue Family Y and said while her own son and family have been involved in non-profit work for some time, seeing her son spread that passion to his teammates and the broader Interlake community was humbling.

"They took it to the next level," she said. "It is the most donations I've ever seen come it at one school for one event."

Ohayre said in future years, he wants to incorporate events like this throughout the season and school year to keep players engaged in the community and for Clark, the chance to share volunteering with his teammates and benefit young people around their own age made the experience memorable.

"I think it's really important to do something for your community," Ohayre said. "We have to remember a lot of things are bigger than us."

Contact and submissions: jsuman@bellevuereporter.com

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