VBLI, a local volleyball organization that holds tournaments year round, held its very-first Grass Volleyball PrideFest and fundraised for PFY, formerly known as Pride for Youth, on June 11.
The inaugural event brought out 186 players and raised $5,000 for the nonprofit organization, a division of the Long Island Crisis Center that serves LGBTQ+ community members from youth through age 45.
“From beginning to end, there was an excitement to ‘PrideFest’ that made it feel more special than any other tournament we’ve hosted in the last 16 years,” said Glenn Yankow, VBLI’s founder and managing director. “After three years of planning, the entire occasion was everything we dreamed of.”
Yankow, as well as Aiden Jay Kaplan, the LGBTQ services manager at PFY, and Alex Petrucelli, VBLI’s tournament director, welcomed the crowd of players before the tournament began. Red Bull, the popular energy drink company, was an event partner and provided beverages to participants.
Money raised came from registration fees, which were $50 per doubles team and $100 per quads team, as well as merchandise sales and other donations. All funds were donated to PFY to aid its programming and assistance for LGBTQ+ youth on Long Island.
The 88 teams competed in the day-long tournament from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on 20 different courts at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. Organizers found Grass Volleyball PrideFest so successful that they plan to make it an annual event and will announce next year’s June tournament date in the fall.
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