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For anyone curious about what a community event looks and feels like, yesterday at the Esplanade Basketball Court was a perfect example.

The music was jamming and smiles abounded as folks of all ages came out to enjoy the 5th Annual EspYouth Basketball Tournament. Located a stone's throw away from both St. James and Waterfront campus, it wasn't long before the park was alive with people from the surrounding neighbourhood.

The event itself was a show of outreach and engagement, as basketball teams from Toronto's emergency services played alongside community youth and George Brown volunteers. 

"This is a terrific event for the community to celebrate togetherness, to celebrate family, to understand our differences and have a great appreciation for what we can offer each other," said Warren Williams, head coach of George Brown College's varsity women's basketball team. "So far as George Brown's involvement with it goes, it's just great to be involved as a role model for younger kids, for people to see our presence and that we are involved in the community."

Participating for the third year running, volunteers from George Brown Athletics & Recreation helped provide the event with a distinct Huskies flavour. Student-athletes served as referees throughout, while a team of Huskies volunteers played in the tournament itself. Williams and varsity men's basketball head coach Jonathan Smith came out in support the event, as did student-athletes including second-year returnee Kiyann Grimaldo and new additions Tomas Kucic and Louis Bryan.  

Of course, the highlight was arguably Helder the Husky, who pumped the crowd and delighted folks young and old.

It's a special year for George Brown College, with both Athletics & Recreation specifically and the college as a whole celebrating their 50th anniversary. As a proud community partner for those 50 years, local events such as the Esplanade Youth Basketball Tournament are a chance to both celebrate that milestone while also looking towards the future. 

"We're going into the 50th anniversary both with the college as well as our sports programs being part of this community, and it's important," said manager of athletics and recreation Melanie Gerin-Lajoie at the event. "We want to get some of these young people out to our games, being aware of the college and the fact that there is post-secondary opportunity right around the corner and that it's accessible. Being out and visible at an event like this one keeps that in mind, and it's also fun to just come out and do something in the community, do something with the kids."

Beyond helping to provide a George Brown presence, involvement in this and other community events can mean a great deal for Huskies student-athletes. Whether in terms of leadership or personal development, Gerin-Lajoie touched upon the value being a part of something bigger than oneself can hold, a belief Williams was in lockstep with.

"It's important for youngsters to see athletes like themselves being involved in an event like this," said Williams. "But it's also important for athletes to see, 'Hey, I do have a role in this community, I'm not just a basketball player at George Brown. I'm someone that people can look up to, I'm someone that is seen in the community, I'm someone that represents the school.' "

For images from the day please visit -