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Hope of South Texas offers Mah Jongg tourney

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
March 24, 2010 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated March 23, 2010 at 10:24 p.m.

Julie Flessner, left, and Elizabeth Rogers, show off a set of Mah Jongg tiles that will be one of the prizes awarded at Saturday's 6th annual Hope of South Texas fundraiser.

Elizabeth Rogers knows she won't have any help defending her championship at the 6th annual Hope of South Texas Mah Jongg tournament.

"I used to play bridge. I like Mah Jongg because you don't have a partner. You're on your own," said the former school teacher. "I'm pretty much still a newbie at it. I only started playing in 2007."

Rogers was one of 52 players who competed in last year's tournament, which benefits the sexual assault crisis and children's advocacy center.

Julie Flessner, Hope of South Texas executive director, said staff member Laura Kinnison played Mah Jongg for a number of years. She approached her fellow Mah Jongg players, who gather weekly at the Grapevine Cafe to play the tile game that originated in China, about taking part in a fund raiser.

"That's how the I Hope I Win Mah Jongg tournament came about," Flessner said.

Volunteer Pat Blanchard was also instrumental in getting the tournament going and continues to be active in organizing the event, Flessner added.

Players come from not only the Victoria area, but the Hill Country and the coast. A player from Illinois took part one year.

"It's become a very popular tournament," Flessner said.

The tournament raises between $4,000 and $5,000 each year.

Hope of South Texas was founded in 1986 and serves Victoria, Jackson, Lavaca, Goliad, Gonzales and DeWitt counties. It provides free services to victims of sexual violence, regardless of age or gender, said Flessner.

"This tournament allows us to provide materials to our clients free of charge," she said. "Our crisis interventionists commonly use workbooks and journals to help facilitate the crisis counseling. Some of those workbooks are quite costly. It adds up."

Rogers said she takes part in the tournament to support the agency.

"They provide services that are needed in the community," Rogers said. "It's a fun way to be able to support an organization that is taking care of local folks who are having trouble in their life."



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