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Hoops for Hope

A small group of Port Washington residents, who all went to Schreiber High School together, hope to keep the momentum going on Sunday, August 11 when they host their second annual “Hoops For Hope 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament” at Chabad of Port Washington at 1 p.m.

In little more than a year, their growing charity, Hope for Hope has raised over $45,000, which has already been used to build housing for 17 orphaned girls in Nyaharuru, a small village in Kenya. That’s just the beginning, according to Chipeng Liang, who started the organization with co-founder Dan Reitman. “Our goal is to be able to do this for many more children in need on a global level.”

This weekend’s tournament still has openings. Players can register up to the event’s starting time for a $30 fee. Spectators will be admitted for $5. Last year, 20 teams participated at the Chabad facility at 80 Shore Road. Refreshments, shirts and other items will also be on sale to support the fundraiser. “We encourage everyone to come out,” Reitman added. “There’s no age limit. We’ll find a place for everyone.”

Liang, who will be working on his MBA in Business Administration at the University of Chicago this fall, explained how the Kenyan project began. “Originally, my uncle had a similar project in China,” he said. “Dan and I have always been involved in charitable work. We were looking to help a village that had over 200 children to build roads to get them to school more safely, but the project did not go off as planned. The Chinese government was not as receptive as we had hoped.”

“A friend gave us the idea of this Kenya project,” he continued, referring to another Port resident, Henry Klion, Hope for Hope’s project manager. “He had worked on a similar project in India. As the scope of the project was a lot smaller one than in China, we decided to change our priorities to Kenya. We wanted to offer immediate assistance to these kids.”

Reitman, who owns Dan’s Dog Walking and Pet Sitting in Port, traveled to Kenya with Liang in February to see the finished orphanage and was elated by the experience. “It was amazing to be able to see and touch and be a part of this actual physical structure that came to fruition,” he said. “It all started with us sitting at Chipeng’s house, coming up with an idea, just trying to figure out a name for the organization.”

“Being able to be there and actually seeing the structures that had been built was amazing,” Reitman added. “It invigorates you and gets you motivated to continue doing this kind of work. It was amazing to see how much can be done with just the efforts from people who work outside of their regular jobs. We’re all taking our nights and our weekends to make things happen. It’s hard to describe your feelings from seeing something in person as we did in Kenya.”

Two more events are being scheduled in the coming months. In late September, Hope for Hope will team with another charity, Aid For Africa, for a Manhattan fundraiser. Another Port member of Hope, Alex Stein, is hosting an event on a barge in Austin, Texas in August.

So far, Hope’s fundraisers have been on a relatively small scale. “We’re kind of low key,” Reitman commented. “None of us do this full time. It’s sort of our own ‘therapy,’ which we try and partake in as much as we can.” He also pointed out that the Town of North Hempstead honored the group last year with a “Hometown Heroes” designation.