Meet the Match

An Athlete Brings Girls to the Basketball Court

Melissa said playing sports and getting an education were her “ticket out of the inner city and into a better life.” She describes herself as “blessed and inspired.” Much of her success can be attributed to a supportive mother and father and a relentless determination to achieve her dreams and “find a way out.” The dire situation facing girls living in the inner cities of Kingston troubles Melissa at a very deep level. She has committed her life to using sports and education as a way to inspire local communities.

Girls in my community often grow up with abusive mothers and absent fathers. As a result, they suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of self-respect. Many of them are also suffering from extreme poverty and an overall sense of feeling ‘beaten down everywhere they turn in life. I believe sports and education are the best ways to prevent another hopeless generation of women.

The NCAA’s commitment to impacting the lives of young people through education and sport participation make Karen and Delise a perfect match for Melissa. We believe the NCAA experience will equip Melissa with new ideas for the National Basketball Programs and will provide her with the statistics she needs to encourage more girls to participate in sports. The NCAA is the best place to find the correlations between sport participation, graduation rates, and life skill development and we are excited to see how Melissa uses this experience to promote sport, life skills and education in Jamaica.

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