Donkey basketball fundraiser planned to support literacy

Thursday, June 4, 2009 | 2:35 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Donkey basketball games will be held to raise money to promote literacy among Columbia and Boone County youth predominantly from African-American families and single-parent homes.

Tickets are $6 for the event, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 20 at the Boone County Fairgrounds, 5212 N. Oakland Gravel Road. Advance tickets are $5 and available at the Imani Mission Center Community of Christ, 7 E. AshSt. Destiny of H.O.P.E., which stands for Helping Our People Excel, is a nonprofit youth group organizing the event.

“It’ll be good, clean fun,” said Glenn Cobbins Sr., vice president of Destiny of H.O.P.E. “We hope to raise as much money as we can.”

The money from the fundraiser will go toward buying books and hiring teachers, who will work with disadvantaged youth to improve their literacy. “Most of them need to learn how to read and to comprehend in order to further their education,” Cobbins said.

Some of the money will also go to refugees from Rwanda who are adjusting to life in Columbia.

Cobbins, who has worked closely with youth for 11 years, said he knows from experience what problems disadvantaged youth might encounter. He said he quit school after the ninth grade, ran away from home and became homeless at 14 because of family troubles.

"I was young, disobedient and frustrated with life," he said. "I don't want children to repeat my mistakes by stepping into the wrong path."

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