Open Gym organizers looking to expand with community support


Donations and new participation welcome

GRAFTON— Locals Chad and Tosha Morris started hosting Open Gym evenings back in May to provide a fun, safe and free environment for Grafton’s youth to remain active and learn basketball skills over the summer months. With the program’s great success, the couple is now looking to grow their offerings. 

“It’s been a couple of months since Chad and I started Open Gym at the Social Center, and we want to expand,” T. Morris shared.

She noted that the goal is still to be basketball focused but mentioned that they would like to purchase some equipment, such as a freestanding volleyball/badminton net and rackets and a set of foam dodgeballs in order to appeal to even more children in the area, who may have interests outside of basketball. 

“We also want to have basketball competitions and be able to reward the winners in some small way,” added T. Morris. 

However, as this is a free program and the Morris family wishes to keep it that way. So, a little help from the community will be needed for these expansion hopes to come to fruition. 

“We’re open to suggestions, donations of equipment and monetary donations,” said T. Morris. “Our goal is to keep this a free activity for the youth of our community. We already run a concession stand to help donate back to the Social Center for letting us use the facility and electric, but it’s not enough. Any donation is appreciated!” 

The Morris’s began Open Gym as a way to give back to a community that supported them tremendously when they lost their four-year-old, Gavin, to neuroblastoma. 

Throughout Gavin’s battle and continuing after his death, the community rallied around the family in support declaring they were “Gavin Strong” and now, the family is hoping the community will rally around their Open Gym cause to support today’s young children of the community. 

Children of all ages are welcome to join in on Open Gym nights, which are held each Sunday, at the St. Augustine Social Center from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The only requirement in a signed waiver, and it is recommended that participants in fourth grade or younger be accompanied by an adult.

A Facebook event has been created for Open Gym and can be found by searching “The Social Center Open Gym” on the website. Here is where participants can find additional information, ask questions and receive updates. 

Those wishing to make a monetary donation that will assist in growing the free program can do so via PayPal, by sending their contribution to [email protected]

Alternately, Facebook Pay can be sent to Tosha Morris, Venmo payments can be made to either @Chad-Morris-1208 or @Tosha-Morris-2 or individuals can feel free to stop by on Open Gym night to drop off their donations in-person. 

“Please share this information,” T. Morris asks. “We encourage as many school age kids to come out as possible! It’s always a good time in a safe environment!”

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