October 30, 2009- 2009 Volume 4
Dun, Dun, Dun! Now introducing the one and only, Charde Houston!
Hey Lynx Fans!
I'm back in action! In action, yes, but without the #24 uniform.
Although I will always strive for excellence in the game of basketball, I have a desire to change the lives of our youth. Because of my background, I am compelled to go into the most underdeveloped and low-income communities of North Minneapolis. I was blessed with the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Minnesota Lynx and am thankful for the opportunity because they helped me with my calling. That truly allowed God to speak to my heart; telling me that my purpose is to inspire today's youth. Inspire them by stressing the fact that they have unlimited opportunities.
For those of you who don't know, I have founded a non-profit organization! The name of it is: Project Y.O.U.[Youth Opportunities Unlimited]. Project Y.O.U.'s primary focus is to empower and stress the importance of education, self-esteem, safe sex, and abstinence. Project Y.O.U. gives equal opportunity to youth who are at risk, disadvantaged, and/or at a low -income.
Project Y.O.U. is a unique organization because I, Charde Houston want to be personally involved! My plan is to hold a weekly meeting with youth between the ages of 14-17. During these meetings, we will discuss the importance of education, having self-esteem, practicing safe sex or sustaining from sex all together. With every action, there is a consequence, and my team will also educate our youth on the consequences of their actions.
Our number one tactic when addressing such issues will be, "Educating through Positive Reinforcement." We not only want to educate, but encourage our youth to participate in every way possible. By fully engaging, they will reap the benefits of becoming better people. For those that may take more time to open up, we want to use the outspoken youth as an example.
Our youth will be given opportunities to win prizes both collectively and individually. This encourages them to work as a team in order to obtain a group goal, or individually to obtain an individual goal. This can applied to everyday life. If you work as hard as possible and never give up, you will reap the benefits of becoming a better person in life.
Well Lynx fans, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more info!
[Basketball] My Love. My Passion.
Hope everyone is well! I just got back to Minneapolis!
I want to take this blog and give you all a little bit of insight into my plans for this upcoming season. Not my on-court plans, but my off-court plans.
As I'm sure you've all read, I've been talking about this great idea I had in my head… well, it's not just an idea any more — it's actually happening! Let me tell you a little bit about Project YOU.
Project You stands for Youth Opportunities Unlimited. My goal is for people, especially children, to use their hardship as a skill, rather than a cliché, to be productive members of society. We do that through environment, safe-sex awareness, and abstinence. We also promote leadership through education. In that respect, self-esteem is one of the biggest issues for me. I wanted to incorporate that into our non-profit because, at the age of 23, I've just learned to accept myself for my differences. As you grow older you hear people say, “you're beautiful, you are this, you are that,” but dealing with certain issues with myself, it took me a long time to go out and wear my hair a certain way without worrying what other people said. It took me a long time to go out without makeup and just walk down the street with confidence. I understand what it’s like as a youth just growing up, and the peer pressure and everything that they encounter. They need somebody that's made it, that's had to struggle to make it. Just to hear their story and understand that it really doesn't matter what other people think. As long as you're comfortable in your skin — that's all that really matters.
I started the process by going to California's Secretary of State. They have a form and you just write in what you want your new organization’s name to be. They then searched in the database to make sure that nobody else had that name. If no one did, you can reserve it. It is usually about 60 days to go through all of the paperwork in order to make the name official.
My foundation is based out of California, but I want to bring it to Minnesota — that is my plan is for this season. I've done a lot of camps and motivational speaking, but I've never physically been hands on to have about eight kids in a room with me to talk about the things they want to talk about. They don't know this yet, but I'm trying to get hooked up with the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities. I did an appearance there, like a camp with Coach Julie, and there was something about that place that made me feel like 'I have to come back here.' Just seeing the girls running around, you could just tell they didn't want to do the drills because they thought they were too cool. They were worried about what other people thought. It's something, God is bringing me back, it's something. I really want to work with them, and before that I want to sit down with them and ask them 'what is it you guys want to do, what do you want to talk about?' So then I can come home and put together a curriculum so they can feel comfortable. I don't want it to be about me. I made this up for them to be comfortable.
I've been homeless. I've had to witness my Mom sleep in a car. I've had to witness my Mom not be able to care for us the way she wanted to because she didn't have enough money to do so. I had to witness my Mom do things this way so we could have a better life. So to my YOU members, I know that there are a lot of people that go to Boys and Girls Club that go through the exact same thing. For me, I had the strength to endure. Through your hardship, you have to find the light at the end of the tunnel and keep telling yourself “I believe in my dreams, I believe in my goals, and if I work hard I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.”
Project YOU means so much to me in my youth, I had so many people in my corner. I went up until my junior year in high school and no one knew what I was dealing with. Once it finally came out to the media everyone was like “Oh my gosh! You didn't show it, you didn't talk to anybody but you made it through.” But everybody isn't like that. People need a place to go so they can feel comfortable and come to people with confidence and understand that they’re not the only one out there that's going through this. And it doesn't have to be homelessness, it can be anything. A hardship is a hardship no matter how big or how small it is.
I'm just trying to make it a world-wide thing. You have to start small and after that I want to make it into a global project where it can be successful from there.
That's it fans… what do you think? Who wants to help me make a difference?
[Basketball] My Love. My Passion.
March 30, 2009- 2009 Volume 3
Hey Lynx Fans!
It's me again, yours truly! So I'm here in Israel just enjoying my day off. There is nothing like soaking up the sun, followed by a much-needed massage. It was an amazing massage might I add! Now a nice ice bath would complete my wonderful day.
As long as I've been here, I have not yet made it to the Holy Land. We are supposed to go as a team on Monday. I am so excited! This is a once in a lifetime experience, and I am going to cherish it! I am totally going to tell my grandchildren about this.
Unfortunately, we were unable to see Jerusalem, but I will definitely visit before I leave here.
Right now, I'm going to focus on trying to win our five-game series in the final four - taking it only one game at a time. Although it's going to be extremely tough, I think our goal is attainable. I'm excited because there is nothing like having to play against the best team in the league in order to get to the championship game. Hey, if you're going to do it, why not do it against the best team? This is by far the ultimate test.
I am a firm believer in the saying; "There is a time and place for everything." I am not the type of player that can sit and think about basketball every single moment of my life. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the game, but the mind needs to get a sense of other things. I had a chance to clear my mind by going to see the best movie of 2009 so far. Slumdog Millionaire is such an amazing movie. I don't want to tell all and spoil it for those who have not seen it, but if you haven't, please do. You will not be disappointed!
If I had one wish right now, I would wish for the opportunity to see my UConn Husky Ladies in action! I've only seen one game while here in Israel. I like keeping up with them by reading, but watching would be so much better. I will try my best to catch a game - but if not, I wish them all the luck in the world. If they continue to play like they have been, I know they will win a National Championship. I would also like to send my best to Tonya and Temple as well. She's done so well her first year, and it will only continue to get better!
Well fans, I usually write a book, but I am going to spare your eyes by keeping it short. Until next time...
[Basketball] My Love. My Passion.
March 10, 2009- 2009 Volume 2
Hey Lynx Fans!
I hope this blog finds you doing well. As I update you all for the second time in 2009, I just want to say thank you to every fan who reads my blog. Not Just mine, but all of my teammates as well. I think our blogs are very helpful in getting to know each and every one of us. I also want to thank those who send in questions and comments. There's nothing like getting personal responses, so you all can see things from our point of view.
Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, I must say that I am so happy. We started the playoffs here in the Israeli league. Tonight, we won by five points. Although it wasn't the best win, we will take it! I must say that this was one of the hardest games that I've played in a long time. Ramla's starting five are all six feet or taller. It was a long and hard battle, but we came out on top - that's all that matters. This calls for about 1,000 ice baths between now and our next game. Since becoming a professional, I've developed better appreciation for ice. I fill up the tub with ice and water, and just sing or read away.
In my last blog, I told all of you that I would like to share an idea. This is so important to me. I am working on a focus group that I would like to have. So far, I would like it to consist of about eight under-privileged children that reside on the north side of Minnesota. I had the opportunity to make an appearance at the Boys and Girls Club just last year. I looked around and saw that, if given a little bit of encouragement, the children could be something great. Like I said before, everyone has a story, but It's all about what you make of it. If we can get more children to use their story as fuel, as opposed to a crutch, it would make society so much better. As I observe, it's amazing how many people don't know; and that's okay. If I can make a few people more knowledgeable about what it takes to be successful, that would make my life worth living.
Like I said before. Most importantly, I have an idea, and with a lot of work and preparation, I honestly believe that something good can come from this. Although I don't have much written down, I have a start. I will continue to ask the Lord to guide each and every one of my steps. By the time training camp comes, I will have a full lesson plan!!
Thanks for taking the time to read my latest blog! See, I'm 22 and I still have dreams. Now I'm going to work hard, so my dreams can come true. I came up with the quote, "Hardship Breeds Success"...I have lived by this since I was 13 years old. I will use this to inspire others to be something great! MARK MY WORDS!
[Basketball. My Love. My Passion.]
February 25, 2009- 2009 Volume 1
Hey Lynx Fans!!
I hope this New Year finds you all doing well.
I can't believe how fast it's coming up. What, you don't know what I'm talking about? I'm talking about the 2009 WNBA season! I hope you all have your tickets in hand. If you don't, please do get them. You can get them by calling a Lynx ticket rep at 612-673-8400. This season will be nothing short of greatness!
As you can see, I am so stoked about this upcoming season! We have one team, and one goal in mind: to put ourselves in the best position to win the CHAMPIONSHIP. We have the perfect staff surrounding us and everyone plays a vital part in our success. It's amazing to see how diligently everyone works during the offseason to ensure that everything in '09 is the absolute best that it can be.
Although I love playing the game, I absolutely love doing community outreach. I love talking to kids in particular, though I don't mind talking to and mingling with any crowd. Whenever I walk into a room filled with children the first thing I do is thank the coordinator for allowing me to be in their presence. While doing so, I observe the children in the room. There are always a few children that I feel I can connect with without even saying a word. There is always a special bond that I feel prior saying one word. It's a feeling that I can't express. It's a feeling so great; and I can only thank God to have had similar people in my life growing up. Being in the same situation, I realized that people don't need money to feel important. Words as simple as "Never Give up" or "I believe in you" can change a child's life forever. Someone said these exact words to me. Although I wasn't the richest child growing up, I had the best support surrounding me. Simply by encouraging me everyday and never allowing me to give up on myself, these people allowed me to thrive in the midst of my troubles.
Speaking of never giving up, back in the day it was always easiest to express myself on paper. I always wrote down my goals and aspirations and I remember one day asking my mother for a piece that I wrote in high school. After searching long and hard for it, she came up with nothing. I even went to the admissions office at the University of Connecticut searching for it as well. They didn't have it either. After a while I accepted the fact that it was gone, and I would have nothing but memories of what I wrote. Four years later, my mother was looking through some old boxes, and found a folder containing what I had written! Hearing her tell me this was like music to my ears. I only had a hard copy of it, so I asked my baby brother Kenechukwu to type it up and e-mail it to me.
I wanted to share this with you all because everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has trials and tribulations in their life. Writing this in high school helped me to deal with it, and motivated me to push even harder towards my goals. If young people read this, they will be able to relate, and realize there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Good comes to those who work hard, and don't except no for an answer.
Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog of 2009. There is something else that I would love to get some of your input on, once I get some general ideas in place. Stay tuned for my essay that I will post as soon as Kene sends it to me
[Basketball. My Love. My Passion.]
December 3, 2008 - Entry 3 | Part 1
Hey Lynx Fans!!
I decided to make this blog in to two parts: The first will consist of answers to questions from fans, and the second will be of my success and experiences in Israel. Stay tuned readers, the second part will be coming up soon!
Here was my first question sent to me by Howard from Pennsylvania:
Q: In one calendar year, you've gone from a college player, to a WNBA player and now to playing overseas. Which of these areas has been the most FUN, and why?
A: I would have to say I've experienced different things on each level of basketball and am so blessed to have been a part of it all. I love the WNBA because I'm able to partake in more community outreach programs around Greater Minnesota. There's nothing like being able to help pave the way, such as those did before me. I have to say that I love Israel too, because the style of play is so much different. On a social level, I am able to play and associate myself with other Americans. If it wasn't for this experience, I know for sure that I would not meet as many people as I have met. I also get to see the Holy Land, as well as the Dead Sea!
Second question sent from Toby.
Q: What were your transitions from high school to college, and from college to pros like? I loved the style of game you brought and felt you should have been up there with Candace Parker and Candice Wiggins.
A: Thanks Toby, that really means a lot to me! I set the foundation in High School that I needed in order to put my self in a good situation for college. I worked really hard to maintain my grades while maintaining my physical strength. I remember my first day of preseason conditioning and thinking to myself that the condition I was forced to do in high school seemed like a joke. As for the transition, college instilled the work ethic and mentality that I needed in order to compete at such a high level. In the WNBA, basketball is not only my love and passion; it's also my job. It's no different than the corporate world in some aspects - you're required to bring your part of the puzzle to practice and games. So just like any other job, there is some pressure to perform at your best everyday, but at the same time, if you are accustomed to working hard, you can do that as well as enjoy what you do on a regular basis. There is nothing like playing the sport that you love for a living!
A unique final question from Iris Levin.
Q: I love reading about your excitement for playing in Israel. Since you want to learn Hebrew... my question is: "Mah Shlomech? Hakol B'seder?"
A: "Ken, akol B'Seder! eh at Ma'gi'sha?"
Haha… well fans, keep the questions coming to email@example.com and I'll be sure to get my answers to you as fast as I can. Also, remember to check back soon for the second part of this, my third entry of the fall/winter.
[Basketball] My Love. My Passion.
November 11, 2008 - Entry 2
Hey Lynx Fans!!
I’m trying to think of a clever way to catch all of you up on everything that’s been happening thus far. I guess there's no other way than for me to just start writing. Please make sure that you are not in a rush to do anything. As you can see, this blog is rather lengthy.
Since writing the last blog, I've played three games. First off, be sure to read my overseas report on lynxbasketball.com.
Anyway, the first game was in the Israeli league against Tel Kabir. I scored 39 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in my “Rookie International Debut”. I shot very well from the field (17-20). This team was undersized, so I just took position in the paint; not to mention a couple of fast-break baskets as well!
As for the second game, it wasn’t one of my best outings. This was a Euro League game against France. It was indeed one of my worse games ever. Unfortunately I fouled out with two minutes left in the third quarter and ended the game with only 12 points and eight rebounds. I was devastated because I am the leader of this team, and I can’t get anything done sitting and watching from the bench. Since then, I have learned from my mistakes, and vowed to never allow that to happen again. I’m still learning different things at the young age of 22 years old. I accept everything as it comes, and I also understand that things will get better, as long as I make adjustments. Life is amazing because you get to learn from your mistakes!
My third game was against Ramat Hasharon of the Israeli League. Ebony Hoffman is the star of that team. Yes, she is a familiar face. I’m sure all of you have seen her in an Indiana Fever uniform, not to mention that she was the 2008 WNBA Most Improved Player. I had the opportunity to meet her at a ceremony, which was held for all the players in the league. She is such a great person, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to speak with her off of the court.
As for the game, I had the scare of my life on my way to the gym. Normally someone will meet us, so we can follow him or her to the gym. My roommate and I decide to drive to the gym alone. We had convinced ourselves that we could make it, since we had been there twice before. We didn’t realize that we had come from different directions the previous times, so we were diving down the road, and everything just looked so different. We tried to call the manger to let her know we were lost, but she didn’t answer the first few times. We asked people on the streets, and we kept getting the wrong directions. We were in such a panic because we were going to be late. This drive was only supposed to be 30 minutes, but it turned out to be an hour. Needless to say, we ended up making it to the gym, thanks to my teammate Gi Gi! We had to rush and get ready for the game.
Despite all of that madness, we managed to pull off a one-point win. Shona Thornburg drove to the basket with 12 seconds left and was fouled. She made the free throws and that put us up by one point. Ramat Hasharon had the last possession. Shona and I had to switch because her player was too quick. So now I am playing defense on the little point guard, and I noticed that she was dribbling without protecting the ball. I realized that this could be good or bad. If I swipe at the ball and miss, it would be a foul. If I swipe at it and take it, we would win. I decided to take my chances. I swiped and the ball started to roll. Shona jumped on it, as did myself and another player for Ramat Hasharon. All of a sudden we hear the whistle blow, and it was a jump ball. Everyone on our bench start jumping and screaming. The possession was ours with only .5 seconds left. All we had to do was inbound the ball, and we win the game. We did just that! Thanks Shona for making those free throws! I played very well. I ended the game with 20 points and 12 rebounds and went about fifty percent from the floor.
Well, I hope your eyes aren’t hurting from reading so much. I just wanted to make sure to get you all caught up on my successes here in Israel. Consider it done!
Also, don't forget to send in any topics you want me to touch on in my next blog to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those of you who sent in subjects last week, I will be sure to get to them in my next blog. Thanks everyone.
[Basketball] My Love. My Passion.
**One more thing, I am really interested in modeling, and I want to have a photo-shoot. I really don’t know what to wear. How about you all send your best ideas to email@example.com, and I will put something together using the best ideas! Don’t forget a hairstyle as well!
October 27, 2008 - Entry 1
“ We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence isn’t an act, but a habit.”
Hey Lynx fans!
Thought you could get rid of me, huh? Haha, wrong! As of right now, I am sitting on this long seven hour and forty minute flight, in route to Israel. I am so excited! I feel like a “kid in a candy store”. Everyone that I have spoken with has told me nothing but great things about Israel. Life is about embracing everything. This includes both the good and the bad. I’m leaving the states with an open mind; allowing myself to meet new people while embracing the culture.
While in Israel, I will be staying with a roommate. I really hope she’s from Israel because it would give me a chance to learn about the culture with someone other than an American. It would take me out of my comfort zone, and allow me to experience things with someone who has been there their entire life. Although most people speak English, I would like to learn how to speak Hebrew as well! I will keep you all posted on my progress.
This blog is just the beginning of many more to come. If you have any questions, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will answer the best two questions that I receive. Well fans, this entry is coming to a close. I have to turn off my computer, because we are getting ready to land! Israel, here I come!!!!!!
[Basketball] My Love.My Passion.
P.S. The photo is myself with the manager and commissioner of my team at a ceremony that was held for all of the teams before the Israel Women's League started.