May 16 was supposed to be a day of baseball, and a day of raising awareness about teens in crisis.
The inaugural Border Battle for Hope House was to pit Chanhassen versus Eden Prairie and Minnetonka against Chaska at Chanhassen High School's Storm Red Bird Stadium. But, like so many other community events, the Border Battle has become a "canceled event" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"For many weeks, our volunteer planning team has been preparing a wonderful event and we are grateful for their creative thought and hard work. We are especially grateful to the Hope House clubs at the high schools that have been so instrumental in helping to generate excitement for the event and building an awareness and passion for the teens that will find help at the Hope House. Call 612-900-2077 if you know of a teen in crisis and in need of emergency shelter," said Denny Laufenburger, executive director of the Open Hands Foundation.
Laufenburger said the coaches and athletic directors of the four schools agreed to adjust their schedules to play their games on the same day, at the same stadium. There would have been a home run derby between the games as well as a spikeball tournament with two-person teams from each of the four high schools and the winners receiving a year’s supply of Chick-fil-A sandwiches.
Additionally, a ball toss for prizes donated by many local restaurants and merchants and the Chanhassen Booster Club running concessions and a food truck would have helped raise money for the Hope House, a six-bed, short-term emergency shelter in Chanhassen for youth ages 14–19 who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness.
Laufenburger said WCCO's Dave Lee was on board to be the guest announcer for the Minnetonka/Chaska game, while Chanhassen resident Kelcey Carlson, Fox 9 anchor, was going to help emcee the home run derby and other between game activities.
"We want to say a very special thank you to the businesses and organizations that so generously stepped up to support the Border Battle for Hope House! Despite the cancellation of the event, we are grateful for your support of our efforts to provide a safe harbor for the teens in crisis in our community," Laufenburger said.
TEENS IN NEED
Christina McCormick, Program Director of Hope House, is proud of the work her staff does with at-risk teens. Providing shelter-in opportunities for those that might otherwise have it.
While it is business as usual, business doesn't look the same. Teens in the home, scattered among different high schools around the metro area, all are working on schoolwork from a distance. It looks a little different for each student.
"Our staff are considered essential, so things look the same, but it is an unknown time. We're trying to be as supportive as we can. It can be tough for teens sheltered at home without their family," McCormick said.
The biggest needs currently are cleaning supplies — Clorox, Lysol — as staff are constantly wiping down surfaces. McCormick also said art supplies for projects, board games, and puzzles, are other great donations. Recently, a dart board and guitars were donated.
"Things we can do together as a house," McCormick said.
While dropping off family-style meals is not encouraged at this time, gift cards to local restaurants is something everyone enjoys.
"It's paying it forward, keeping our local, community restaurants in business. If we can get takeout, delivery, a couple times a week, it really makes it easier on staff which work long shifts," McCormick said.
Donations can be dropped off at the door. McCormick said there is a box right outside the garage. If you'd like, call and let a staff member know of a donation to ensure it's properly handled.
We can't do what we want to do without the community's support. We very much appreciate everything they do for us," McCormick said.
Support the Hope House by visiting the Open Hands Foundation website at www.openhandsfoundation.com.