From the court to the community.
By Gillian Downes for the Ian Peters Agency
For many WNBA athletes, the winter ’08 break meant heading home to spend time with family and friends. For Indiana Fever center Tammy Sutton-Brown, however, the break also meant continuing her commitment to give back to her community.
In August (2008) Tammy launched TSB08, an initiative of programs and events designed to benefit community groups and raise awareness of the issues that lie closest to her heart. Before she arrived home for the holidays, Tammy’s mind was already brimming with ideas that reflected her strong sense of community.
From bullying to self-esteem, Tammy has experienced the issues that plague the minds of girls. “There are a lot of different areas to focus on,” she admits. Through TSB08, Tammy has created empowering experiences for young women that will provide them with the tools needed to achieve dreams and goals.
In August (2008), Tammy teamed with Athletes For Africa (www.athletesforafrica.com) to launch the Tammy Sutton-Brown Girls Basketball Camp. The inaugural camp was held in Markham, the Toronto (Ontario) suburb where Tammy was born and raised. For one week, a select group of young women was treated to time on and off the court; basketball lessons were paired with group sessions that encouraged discussions on such topics as self-esteem and nutrition.
“It’s tough being a kid these days,” Tammy notes. “There are so many obstacles these kids have to face.”
Tammy reveals that as a child she received her fair share of teasing from those who sought to make fun of her height. “You know how kids are,” she states, shrugging off the days when she was compared to the Jolly Green Giant.
Tammy has left behind the days when her self-esteem was a sensitive issue. As a strong, confident role model she seeks to pass her strength on to the girls who participate in her camp. Tammy received such positive feedback from the attendees and their parents that she plans to expand the camp in 2009.
The life lessons that can be taught to girls often enable them to lead better lives as women. Building upon that correlation, Tammy launched the first annual Tammy Sutton-Brown Ladies Day of Pampering, which was held at Toronto’s Street Haven At The Crossroads, a short-term shelter and drop-in centre for women. Street Haven At The Crossroads also offers support, counseling and a variety of programs designed to help women who are in need.
On Sunday, December 28th (2008), Tammy and a dedicated team of volunteers and partners worked feverishly to turn Street Haven into a spa-inspired environment in which women could relax and have a beauty-filled day. More than 20 women were treated to services provided by Pat Senior, a Toronto-based hairstylist. Registered massage therapists TJ Berry and Gerwil Mendez from The Mobile Spa provided manicures and massages. Independent physiotherapists Tracy Blake and Kim Yae also rendered massages.
“It was a great day, Tammy beams. “We did haircuts, massages and manicures. Plus, the women got to take home gifts donated by our partnering companies, including La Senza, Bath & Body Works and New Era Caps. The feedback has been so positive, I feel like I need to give more.”
That sense of commitment will enable Tammy to establish TSB08 as an organization with deep community roots.