Sandals, Wayne Wade In Partnership.
INVOLVEMENT in organized sports activities teaches invaluable life lessons to youth inclusive of self-confidence, discipline, teamwork, dealing with success, failure and perseverance.
These are the pillars that the initiation of the Sandals Foundation’s ‘Game Change Programme’ was built on through collaboration with three-time NBA Champion, Dwyane Wade and his charitable organization, Wade’s World Foundation.
On Wednesday morning the Sandals Foundation and Wade’s World Foundation were equally ecstatic to unveil and officially open to the public the newly refurbished Kenneth ‘Wriggler’ King basketball court located in George V Park. The basketball court was deemed a necessary safe space for youth in and around the community who have traditionally used basketball as a medium of socialization and self-expression. It will impact 50 children, ages 8 – 13 years, by providing them opportunities through sports and mentorship.
In addressing the gathering Chairman of the court / committee Vilan Edward recalled that four years ago, the Ministry of Youth Development and Sport embarked upon a pilot project to establish a management committee to independently oversee and run the affairs of the sporting facility. The committee in return partnered with one of its users the Tiger Tennis Academy, spearheaded by Sean Arlain.
Edward added: “Through Rhonda Giraudy we were able to identify and parallel our ideas to providing better tools for sport and discipline. She agreed to take us one step further by seeking the assistance of the Sandals Foundation, the Wade Foundation, and the Game Change organization to assist in rehabilitating our ailing facility.
He continued: “When an entity can honour its corporate responsibility and willingly come to the assistance of a facility bent on providing the best possible avenue for sport and education for today’s youth. It speaks volumes to the persons at the helm of these organizations. For that, I would like to say a resounding Thank you! These selfless contributions resonate throughout our sporting sectors and filter through our nation consequently”.
Six-time national basketball league champion, current basketball coach and manager of Basketball for the Future (BFTF) programme in St. Lucia, Ron Du Murville, expressed his satisfaction and gratitude for the initiative. He said; “Basketball has always been a way to unite our youths, and allow them to escape and dispel any negativity they are facing in their individual lives. With the deterioration of the courts it was becoming an unspoken concern by our players that they may have to halt the sport and hobby they look forward to the most. Thanks to Sandals and Wade’s World Foundation we can now continue to build our teams and strengthen the positive values each player learns each day when they step on this court.”
The Game Changer partnership launched in 2014 was designed to provide youth access to planned sports, recreation, healthy lifestyles and family engagement as well as activities such as camps, afterschool training and coaching sessions. Since then, it has impacted several Caribbean islands through in-kind donations of 400 pairs of basketball sneakers and sports towels distributed to young players in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos.