Ben Gordon Center hosted its annual dodgeball fundraiser Saturday

By Maria Ahmad

Ben Gordon Center uses a gym class favorite to raise money for mental health and substance abuse programs. The Center’s seventh annual charity dodgeball tournament was held on Saturday with 30 different teams registered to play

The tournament was held at DeKalb High School field house, 501 W. Dresser Road. The dodgeball tournament is held each year to raise funds for services and programs offered at the Ben Gordon Center (BGC), 12 Health Services Drive.

The Ben Gordon Center provides mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment services. The yearly dodgeball tournament operates on a sponsorship basis, with local businesses helping to cover the cost of renting the field house and other associated fees. Teams paid a $150 registration charge to play which went towards general fundraising for the center’s various mental health programs, along with any money the teams raised from donations.

Michelle LaPage, BGC Director of Marketing and Development said the tournament was divided up to make sure every one can find a team, and a have a chance to win.

“There is an adult division and businesses division that competes for first, second, and third places,” LaPage said.

First places winners received a trophy while second and third place received medals. An award for best dressed team within a division is also awarded with a trophy.

Danny Takla, a dodgeball player for Team Hope in the adult division, said his team has won best dressed in the past. This year the team was dressed in pink breast cancer awareness gear.

“It is my fifth year playing, and my teams third year,” Takla said. “It is fun, the guys love it, and it supports a great cause.”

BGC offers programs and services to promote better mental health. Some services offered at BGC include mental health counseling, eating disorder treatments, substance abuse treatments and therapy and support groups. BGC houses about 40 professional counselors and therapists.

Businesses and organizations throughout DeKalb helped raise funds for BGC through sponsorship. Some sponsors include Kishwaukee Community Hospital, Daily Chronicle, Castle Bank and Mason Properties amongst many others. NIU fraternities and ROTC provided volunteers and referees for the tournament.

“I am volunteering with ROTC as a referee, and we watched a mock dodgeball game to make sure we knew the rules,” said undecided freshman Brianna Hall. “It is a good way to give back to the community and I am having fun.”

Winners of the tournament will be posted on the BGC website,, today.