Columbia Parks and Rec raises money to fight homelessness through dodgeball

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COLUMBIA - From the amateurs to the professional travel teams, dodgeball players of all skill sets took part in the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation department’s annual dodgeball tournament Saturday.

The event raised awareness for youth homelessness. Each year, the department donates half of the proceeds to Rainbow House, a local organization that serves as an emergency shelter.

Kevin Hackworth played with a team from Welcome Home Inc. He said the issue of homelessness hits close to home. 

“Being homeless myself, I was given a chance to develop skills that I didn’t have,” he said. “Giving back to this here is instrumental in my growth and improvement to overall society.”

Hackworth said he had experienced a long road of ups and downs throughout his life. It was only recently that he was able to get back on his feet using resources like Welcome Home, a shelter for veterans.

“God bless Columbia,” Hackworth said. “We have so many different resources here. If you truly want and need the help, you’ll find it here. Columbia is tremendous in that way.”

For Hackworth and others at Welcome Home, Saturday’s dodgeball tournament was a chance to give back to the community.

“It is just a blessing to have this available and to be able to give something back," he said. 

Hackworth said he hopes his story can serve as inspiration to others who are going through difficult times.

“When you have been on one side, and then you get to the other side, it’s like a book,” he said. “There is always a beginning, an end but it is the middle that is the bulk of the situation.”