Catch The Stars Foundation celebrates five years
By Justin Whitaker | December 11, 2009
In women’s basketball, there is no bigger star than Tamika Catchings. The Indiana Fever’s nine-year veteran is the same on and off the court: competitive, determined and great to be around. As great of a player as she is, Catchings is an even better person. Her charitable foundation, the Catch the Stars Foundation, works with children and underprivileged kids using basketball, fitness and mentoring to teach social skills and goal-setting.
Catch the Stars was created in December 2004, just now passing the five-year anniversary of the inception. But the groundwork was laid for the foundation, when Catchings was a young child.
“My dad [Harvey Catchings] played professional basketball. I remember as a young child going to a lot of appearances with him,” said Catchings. “My mom and dad made sure that my older brother and sister and I always tagged along and made sure we knew there were people that were less fortunate than us.”
“Over time, that is how it started. Knowing that are other people that we have to help.”
The older Catchings got, the more she started to plan in her head.
“As I got older and started getting really into basketball,” said Catchings. “I was thinking ‘Oh my God, if one day I can ever have my own basketball camp it would be the coolest thing ever.’”
Catchings was drafted third overall in the 2001 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever. She tore her ACL her senior year at Tennessee and did not play the first year with Indiana as she was still recovering from her injury.
With Catchings on the sideline, she looked to do anything she could to get involved in the community.
“I did every single appearance that you can imagine. I was hurt, so it’s not like I was on the court practicing,” said Catchings. “I was bored whenever the team would go on the road because I would be stuck here. My thing was, ‘whatever I can do, I want to do it.’”
From there, Catchings was able to meet a lot kids and program directors in the community and the idea for Catch the Stars was growing step by step.
Then a man named Ted Van Riper, from Riverside Family Park, approached Catchings about putting something together.
“He said, ‘I want to help you, I know you want to do your basketball camps, I know it’s something you’ve talked about, let me help you.’ That is how it started,” said Catchings.
The basketball camps were successful events that left parents and kids wanting more.
“The parents came to us and asked what else we were going to do, ‘what else was planned?’” said Catchings. “We then added a fitness clinic, now we are the doing the fitness and basketball clinics.
Then again, we got asked after those, ‘what else can you do?’”
Success and popularity from the camps and clinics, along with Catchings’ desire to help others, led to the inception of Catch the Stars. It had become time to create the foundation.
Part 2 of this story will run on Monday, Dec. 14. For more information on the Catch the Stars Foundation, please visit Catchin24.com.