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2024 Unity Basketball Update

2024 Unity Basketball Update

2024 Liberty & Justice Unity Basketball Event

On June 8th, 2024, Liberty For Youth hosted our 18th Annual Liberty & Justice Unity Basketball game, between Liberty For Youth’s Prodigal Sonz (a team of at-risk/post-incarcerated youth and their mentors) and the Hamilton Police All-Stars basketball team, led by Staff Sergeant David McKenzie.  Our annual ‘2024 Steel City Cop Award’ was presented to Constable Osayi Iginuan. 

At the beginning of the game, Prodigal Sonz Alumni member (and now Special Constable with the Hamilton Police Service) Rudy Sanchez, met with Prodigal Sonz participant, Trandon, at half court for the presentation of the ‘Unity Ball’, which symbolizes the reconciliation between a youth in conflict with the law and the Hamilton Police Services.  Rudy shared a few words regarding his journey from being an at-risk youth to now being employed as a Special Constable – truly a full circle in his journey! 

“I first got involved with Liberty For Youth (LFY) when I was 13 years old.  During that time a family member was in jail and I felt anger towards the police, as I was young and didn’t fully understand the situation. I received mentorship and played basketball with Liberty For Youth and over time I started seeing the police differently.  LFY connected me with Constable Rod Allison, who took me for dinner and discussed career options within the law enforcement field.  I eventually applied to the Police Foundations program and was hired as a Special Constable this year.  I have the honour of being the first basketball player to play for The Prodigal Sonz and now for The Hamilton Police team.”  

Rudy Sanchez|LFY Alumni Member & Special Constable 

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This year, Prodigal Sonz team member, Karl received the ‘Sergeant Barry Mungar – Bursary Award’ in honour of Sergeant Mungar’s commitment to assisting youth in overcoming obstacles to strive for excellence in athletics & community.  We were also joined by Old Republic Canada’s CEO, Jason Smith, who presented a $15,000 matching grant cheque to Liberty For Youth’s Prodigal Sonz program, marking $95,000 given to date.    

“Old Republic Canada is proud to partner with Liberty For Youth. We believe the investments we have made in the lives of youth over the last 7 years through Liberty For Youth is an eternal investment in the future of our youth and our local community." 

Jason Smith | CPA, CA, President | Chief Executive Officer, Old Republic Canada 


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Many community members came out to watch the Hamilton Police All-Star Basketball Team & the Prodigal Sonz battle it out for the 2024 Championship!  In the end, the Prodigal Sonz Team took home the victory with a final score of 68 to 47. 

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Thank you to our event sponsors!

Old Republic Insurance
Old Navy
Children's Fund
Caledonia Denture Clinic
Effort Trust
Re-Source Thrift Shop

You can watch CHCH's Coverage of our event here: