Ruth Riley Receives WNBA Cares Community Assist Award For August
NEW YORK, September 28, 2006 - In recognition of Detroit Shock center Ruth Riley's commitment to the community, the WNBA today honored her with its Community Assist Award for August. A member of the 2006 WNBA Champion Shock, Riley has taken an active role in the team's community outreach initiatives and is involved in organizations that support youth development, literacy and athletics, including Athletes in Action, Orchards Children's Services, American Cancer Society and March of Dimes.
Throughout the month of August, Riley participated in numerous Shock community events, including WNBA Be Smart - Be Fit - Be Yourself fitness clinics hosted at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Riley invited local children to join her in interactive fitness sessions after the Shock vs. Chicago Sky game on August 10, and again after a contest against the Connecticut Sun on August 13. Participants had a chance to test their basketball skills, learn fitness tips and work with Riley on developing a healthy lifestyle.
On August 29, Riley was joined by teammates Katie Smith, Deanna Nolan and Elaine Powell as the Shock celebrated the 2006 Finals by hosting a WNBA Read to Achieve reading rally at the Children's Hospital of Michigan. The players led reading sessions with a group of young patients and also made special room visits to spend time with the children individually.
"Ruth goes above and beyond to not only make community appearances on her own time throughout the year, but also to sign every single autograph, pose for every single photo and have every single conversation that is ever requested of her," said Paul Hickey, Assistant Director of Community Relations for the Detroit Shock. "She is very giving of her time, talent and treasure."
Riley works closely with Orchards Children's Services, a child welfare agency that provides care for children without homes in Southeast Lower Michigan. Throughout the year, she participates in reading, athletic and fundraising events that support the organization's programs for children and families in need.
Riley is also involved in Athletes in Action, an organization dedicated to encouraging good sportsmanship and spreading faith-based messages to athletes around the world.
"I am honored to receive the community assist award from the WNBA," said Riley. "As a professional athlete, I am not only able to play a sport that I love; I also have the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.
"I am very passionate about impacting the lives of today's youth -- whether it be our Read to Achieve programs or going on hospital visits. I am thankful to the people who have invested their time and efforts into my life, and am eager to do the same for others."
The WNBA Community Assist Award is presented monthly to the player who best reflects the league's passion for making a difference in the community. In recognition of the recipient's charitable efforts, the WNBA is donating $5,000 to the organization of her choice, Athletes in Action.
About WNBA Cares
Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on promoting a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, breast health awareness, youth and family development, and education.
WNBA Cares is a part of NBA Cares, an initiative through which the league, its players and teams will raise and contribute $100 million for charity, donate more than 1 million hours of hands-on volunteer service to communities worldwide, and build more than 100 places where kids can learn and play over the next five years.