Hoops 4 Hope: Emily Reichman & Zimbabwe

photo (38)Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Hamlin parent Emily Reichman, and learn about her passion for basketball and global service.  This summer she and her husband Courtland Reichman are taking their three children to Zimbabwe for four weeks to volunteer with the non-profit organization, Hoops 4 Hope.

“Hoops 4 Hope is committed to providing children and young adults in challenged environments with a safe, nurturing place where they can develop more than just skills for the playing field: they can develop Skills 4 Life and grow up to be healthy, influential, contributing members of their communities.  The H4H Skills for Life program focuses on dealing with gender issues, violence, HIV, and building leadership.” -Hoops 4 Hope website

Reichman is an avid basketball fan who has played the sport in college and on the courts of South Los Angeles while she was working with Teach With America.  She has also coached Hamlin teams in the past.  She describes basketball as, “such a unifying sport that brings together people from varying backgrounds.”

She appreciates the value of Hoops 4 Hope.  Before games, the players have a circle time where they engage in explicit teaching around topics like self-respect and unity.  These teachings are then coupled with the implicit learning that happens on the court during games.

Reichman believes strongly in service work both in the United States and abroad, but especially enjoys the cultural exchange that takes place with Hoops 4 Hope.  This deep love of embracing other cultures stems from her earlier experiences living and traveling in both Japan and Ghana.

I asked Reichman what she most loved about basketball and the role that it has played in her life. “Growing up, basketball transcended race and brought me to better understand and appreciate all people regardless of their appearance.”  This crucial realization remains a guiding force in her life today.

For more information about Hoops 4 Hope, please visit:

http://www.hoopsafrica.org

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