Twenty-five years ago, a small group of friends were inspired to start a volleyball tournament that benefitted local charities.
Since then, Ottawa’s HOPE Volleyball festival has become a smashing success, raising over $6 million for local and national charities and becoming one of the largest events of its kind.
On the weekend, over 25,000 visitors joined 10,000 volleyball players and 1,200 volunteers to make Mooney’s Bay a site of fun and goodwill.
Ethel Craft, event manager for HOPE volleyball, said the event looked to raise over $800,000 this year.
“Our focus is that we are trying to support the six charities,” she said. “… and really having a good time doing it, which was a part of the original mandate.”
This year, money raised will benefit several charities: Champions for Children, Children at Risk, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Harmony House, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation.
Children at Risk board president Paul Lacroix said that the exposure for his charity is a huge benefit to being a part of HOPE.
“It puts our name on the map,” he said. “(HOPE) is a great organization.”
Money is raised by volleyball teams entering the tournament. Denis Sabourin, captain of his team called Xactly Design, said the focus is on funds for local charities, but it’s an added bonus to have fun with friends.
“It brings the community together and it has been a huge success for years,” he said.