Continuing a growing January tradition at our West Loop Campus, the Youth Advisory Board and the Mercy Mustangs hosted the second Rising Stars Challenge in Mercy Home’s Noha Gymnasium.

Youth got a chance to go head-to-head with each other and Mercy Home coworkers in organized basketball contests. The Rising Stars Challenge featured a Shooting Stars competition, a three-point competition, a youth vs. staff game, and a “Ballers vs. Ringers” game where both teams contained a variety of youth and staff.

Kids and coworkers from across the Agency packed the gym as they cheered on their peers and colleagues. Vice President of Organizational Development Lori Kinast and her team, with a behind-the-back no-look assist from Mercy Home’s Kitchen Staff, dished out nachos and soft drinks to the hungry crowd.

MercyWorks Coordinator Kevin Felisme, along with Speh Home’s Jordan and Noha Home’s Jaylen won the Shooting Stars competition. Felisme also claimed victory beyond the arc with his sweet jumper as winner of the three-point competition. In the full-court scrimmages, the youth team put up a scrappy fight, but the staff came out on top, while the Ringers outlasted the Ballers.

“I felt like this Rising Stars Challenge was 10-times better than the one we had over the summer,” said event organizer Justin Earls, Coordinator of Post-Secondary Options and Career Resources. “For this event, we got the girls campus to come up and we had a much better turnout. So many people actively participated – it was a great time!”

On hand once again were our good friends at adidas, who last year covered the cost of a new scoreboard for the Noha Gymnasium. Jenny Sweeney, adidas Showroom Manager, and her team provided backpacks to contest winners, along with an array of hats for participants and those in the stands. One of our young men, Tyrone, also designed t-shirts for the event.

The Rising Stars Challenge was great fun and a tremendous success! We look forward to holding this competition for years to come.