Through our Community Outreach Programs, young basketball players and coaches who successfully complete ImprovED and TRIAD’s community-based HIV and life skills education workshops are eligible to participate in extraordinary clinics. Professional men’s and women’s players and coaches inspire kids and new coaches with exciting skill-building camps centered around HIV/AIDS education. Basketball is an increasingly global game. Players from Africa, South America, Europe and Asia now fill rosters in the NBA and WNBA, as well as in professional leagues throughout Europe. By introducing the fundamentals of the game alongside priceless lessons about HIV/AIDS and healthy lifestyles, children and coaches alike will have the chance to make their own dreams of playing in the big leagues a reality.
Any celebrity athlete can swoop in to a needy community, galvanize a group of children, and leave again. Only the most dedicated athletes and coaches stick around to train local leaders to capitalize on the interest they generated in the sport. Our volunteers teach aspiring coaches the approaches and strategies to coaching children new to the sport. But they also teach these leaders how to reinforce age-appropriate and culturally appropriate lessons about safer sex, abstinence, family responsibility, and staying in school in spite of hardships and conflicts. Each of our athletes and coaches custom-tailors the coaching curriculum to the needs of the local community.
Hoops for Hope: Camps for Kids
They’re superhuman on the court and off the court. Our basketball players and coaches know how to inspire kids with dazzling displays of ball-handling and footwork. But they also know how to encourage vulnerable children to balance fun with focus, individual achievement with unselfish teamwork and sportsmanship. These same values translate to life off the court, as well. Many of our players overcame tremendous hardships to rise to the highest ranks of professional sports. They share their stories to inspire the children who need successful role models.
Shoes To Use: Big Shoes To Fill
Clearly most professional basketball players have MUCH larger feet than the average child in our partner programs. However, by donating their used sneakers to our campaign, we then auction the stars’ shoes and use 100% of the proceeds to fund the salaries of the new basketball coaches we train.
Basketball is inherently more infrastructure-intensive than is soccer. Where soccer can be–and is– played on any level field of grass, basketball requires a proper court. When TRIAD first arrived in southern Africa in early 2007, the kids who were playing had one serviceable court in one village. Any other youth who wanted to play found themselves on makeshift courts with surfaces of gravel and broken glass. Considering most children were playing barefoot, TRIAD found this unacceptable. Those who were interested in using basketball as a vehicle to teach and learn about HIV/AIDS deserved better. With the guidance of the NBA Cares program and the leadership of the WNBA’s Ruth Riley, TRIAD was able to build its first court in March 2009. Players no longer had to practice once a week at a court 40 kilometers away. In order to increase interest and participation in TRIAD’s basketball program, we believed the old adage from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” New basketball teams are already organizing in the areas around the new court.