This week’s blog entry is submitted by PPI – ME’s American Trainer, Edniesha Curry.
Let me introduce Hala, a young girl who is a part of PPI – ME’s Ein Raffa program. After working with her for the last six months, I have seen great improvement and growth on and off the court. She is only nine years old, but Hala is fluent in English, Arabic and Hebrew. Her favorite things to do are ‘hang out’ with family and play sports. She loves chocolate and Angry Birds. And, I must say, she can make some great tea and lemonade for a youngster. Hala has been a pure joy for me as a coach, and has become a true leader during practice — she is always willing to go the extra mile.
PeacePlayers International – Middle East has grown exponentially over the last seven years in both the number of participants and programming. One of our newest programs is for Arab women to have the same basketball training as their children. Hala’s aunts, cousin, and even mom are a part of this program.
Last week, Hala attended one of the women’s practices with no idea that I was going to see just how much she has learned over the past six months. I surprised her by giving her the reigns to lead the women’s practice. Talk about pressure for a 9 year old, but the leader that she is, Hala handled it like a champion. She went directly into ‘coach-mode’, instructing the women just as I do…first explaining the drill vocally, then showing it to them, and lastly, watching them do it on their own.
It was incredible to see the confidence come out of her voice. When she forgot a drill that I taught her, she would look at me for a little help. We were a really great team that night, and the women enjoyed having her lead them in practice. At the end of practice we had a little fun and I let my assistant coach join the ladies while I led the rest of practice. We had a shooting contest where the losers had to run. Who do you think won in the running contest between Hala and her aunt?
It is very important for the whole community to see how important PeacePlayers is to the children. Sport is such a powerful tool that teaches us so many skills for life and goes way beyond the number of games we play.