Tamika Catchings Receives Community Assist Award for July
Catchings was an integral part of the Fever Basketball Skills Camp, conducting a basketball skills clinic and addressing young people on topics including basketball, education and fitness. Following the 2005 WNBA All-Star game Catchings, joined by Natalie Williams and Tully Bevilaqua conducted a Be Smart – Be Fit – Be Yourself fitness clinic for the National Youth Sports Program. NYSP is a nationwide organization committed to active participation in sports and education to enable youth from underserved families to enhance the quality of their lives. With help from her teammates, she led more than 150 children through a number of fitness exercises and drills. In addition, they delivered important messages to the 10-16 year old participants about eating right, exercising, playing sports and the importance of education for future success. The same day, Catchings held a Basketball Camp for 60 kids ages 8-12 in conjunction with Indiana Black Expo, an organization for the social and economic advancement of African-Americans.
During the season Catchings serves as the team’s spokesperson for the Be Smart – Be Fit – Be Yourself program and for the third year in a row, has participated in the Fever Give-A-Game program, where she purchases a block of 20 tickets to every Fever home game and donates them to disadvantaged youth.
“It's an honor to receive the Community Assist award for doing something that I truly enjoy,” said Catchings. “Touching the lives of our youth is a reward in itself, and keeps me going through my ups and downs on and off the court.”
In the spring of 2005, Catchings officially unveiled her “Catch the Stars Foundation.” The Catch the Stars Foundation was created to help motivate and provide opportunities for underprivileged youth in the Indianapolis metropolitan area to achieve their dreams and goals by providing positive academic and sports related programs. The programs encourage fundamentals including reading, study skills, organization, goal setting, sportsmanship, being a positive role model and the importance of self-esteem through mentoring and real life experiences. Having overcome a hearing impairment and speech problem during her youth, Catchings is involved in a number community organizations and charities that work with the hearing impaired and other disadvantaged individuals.
The WNBA Community Assist Award is given out monthly by the league to recognize players for their charitable efforts. Each month WNBA teams can nominate a player for the award, which honors the player who best reflects the league’s passion for making a difference in their communities. As a result of her efforts, the WNBA will donate $5,000 to her foundation, Catch The Stars Foundation. Other nominees include; Sui Feifei (Sacramento Monarchs), Tanisha Wright (Seattle Storm) and Ruth Riley (Detroit).
Through programs such as WNBA Breast Health Awareness, WNBA Be Fit, Be Smart, Be Yourself, and WNBA Read to Achieve, the WNBA has helped to generate more awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, the benefits of regular exercise, good nutrition and a positive self-image, and has worked to bring the joy of reading to millions of children across the country.