To some, 7 AM may seem early to attend a fundraiser, but not for the 350+ plus people that come out to attend the Third Annual HUB All Star Breakfast benefiting the Hub Sports Center in Liberty Lake. The event was held in The Mirabeau Park Hotel. Once you walked through the front entrance of the hotel there were high school students dotting the way to the ballroom so you were sure to find your way.

The HUB Sports Center is a 66,670 square foot high-quality indoor sports facility that fills a vast need in Spokane. More than 175,000 people visit the HUB each year. You will find that they host events ranging from volleyball to basketball, karate, and pickleball.

But, the HUB is so much more than a place to play games. That was evident by the crowd of business leaders, the elected officials, and droves of people passionate about giving our youth a place to learn, grow and receive mentoring. The HUB runs a community outreach program that centers on giving 6th through 8th grade kids a safe, fun environment after school. In the HUB 360 program, kids can come after school and receive snacks, help with homework and spend time with positive role models and mentors. This program is what has the crowd this morning passionate about supporting the HUB’s mission.

The doors opened at 7 am to a waiting crowd. Cheerful high school students from various Spokane Valley high schools manned the check in. Everyone in attendance had the goal of enabling the organization to purchase the building that the HUB currently resides in, which would ensure its continuation for generations.

David Noll of the Redeemer Lutheran Church gave the blessing, which reminded us that the next generation is poised to be the change in our world, we are merely “setting the table” to make it possible for them to make the changes for good in our world.

The keynote speaker was Matt Santangelo, a favorite among local basketball enthusiasts after playing for Gonzaga University’s Men’s Basketball Team from 1996 to 2000. He currently is the executive director for Hoopfest, another source of pride in Spokane. His moving speech centered around the role that sports mentors had for him growing up in a tough neighborhood in Portland. He credits his parents and mentors for helping him succeed in college and as a professional basketball player in Europe.

Phil Champlin is the HUB’s director. Even a brief conversation with him makes it clear that he has big vision and passion for what he does. This morning’s fundraiser was a fantastic way to start the day. It was refreshing to see so many people out to support today’s youth.