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Sports Envoys Visit Haiti

Sports envoys (DOS)

WNBA star Nykesha Sales, NBA star Samuel Dalembert with new friends.

NBA's Samuel Dalembert (Sacramento Kings' center), WNBA All-Star Nykesha Sales (a six-time all-star), and Christopher Clunie (NBA's international coordinator) traveled for Haiti's first ever Sports Envoy program June 9-14, 2011. They led several basketball clinics for disadvantaged youth, youth in conflict with the law, coaches and players. 

The sports envoys met with Haitian President Michel Martelly, who plans to implement basketball programs throughout Haiti and held a workshop for 50 kids at Athletique d'Haiti that enabled the NBA/WNBA stars to share expertise and personal experiences with the youth.  Afterward, they held a session at the Centre de Re-education des Mineurs en Conflit avec la Loi (Re-education Center for Juveniles in Conflict with the Law) focused on "sports as a peace building tool which promotes non-violence."  The players engaged in a 30-minute drill session with the youth as well as a game with the Haitian National Police and NYPD officers.  In the afternoon, they conducted a 90-minute clinic with Haitian National Basketball Federation coaches.   

The next day the group visited the pediatric section of the State University Hospital (HUEH) to mark the start of Haitian Children's Week hosted by UNICEF. Samuel Dalembert and Nykesha Sales played with children and their families to participate in the united efforts of UNICEF and University Hospital to rebuild and provide care in post-earthquake Haiti. At J'aime Haiti Foundation's final tournament members from the Haitian and international community raised funds for Hoops for Peace.

After visiting the Citadelle LaFerriere they had a speaking engagement with youth, coaches, and the basketball community in Cap-Haitian. The coaches learned creative ways to promote basketball in Haiti, country where soccer has already won the hearts of the majority. They were encouraged to work the government to reinforce sports in school for boys and girls. The session concluded with a practice session for the younger participants showing that practicing sports should start at a very early age.