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An awards presentation ceremony, a basketball clinic for 20 children, and a book signing recently kicked off the third annual DreamMakers Basketball Tournament weekend at the Carson Veteran’s Sports Complex.

“Our tournament has two goals,” said Patrice Martin, tournament founder. “We want to raise community awareness for Easter Seals disability services and to raise funds for those services because the money stays in our local communities.”

Former NBA player Juaquin Hawkins spoke to the kids in attendance about overcoming adversity and disability and his struggle to overcome the stroke he suffered in 2008 at age 34 as featured in his book “The Stroke of Grace.” He then coached a basketball clinic for the youngsters as he does for his Hawks Hoops youth basketball camps.

Carson Mayor Jim Dear was given a framed acknowledgment of the city’s support of the basketball tournament and the mayor, in turn, presented a certificate and declared that the event was now an official yearly event of the city of Carson by unanimous vote of the city council because of its significant community impact.

The tournament was the idea of then 17-year-old James Moyer. James wanted to increase awareness among youth, teens and adults about what Easter Seals does every day to make it possible for individuals with disabilities to lead full and engaged lives.

The fundraising will culminate in a check presentation at the Easter Seals Southern California “Walk With Me” event in Long Beach at the Shoreline Aquatic Park on Saturday, Nov. 8.