WNBA honors Ruth Riley for community service

NEW YORK – The WNBA today honored Chicago Sky center Ruth Riley’s commitment to the community with its WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for June. Since joining the Chicago Sky, Riley has assumed a leadership role off the court in the team’s community outreach programs, while continuing to support health-related issues globally through her work with Nothing But Nets and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. This marks Riley’s third Community Assist Award, having previously been honored in 2006 and 2008.

Understanding the importance of being a positive role model for young girls, Riley visited two Chicago area high schools where she spent one-on-one time with students. During her visit with 9th through 11th grade girls at Chicago North High School, Riley shared personal life lessons with the group and emphasized the importance of setting goals and making positive choices. She also spoke with females students at Rowe-Clark High School and hosted a special clinic for the school’s girls’ basketball team.

Riley’s outreach efforts also included participating in a fundraiser for Big Shoulders Fund, a Chicago non-profit organization that supports Chicago’s inner-city schools, and visiting with women and children at Women In Need Growing Stronger, a Chicago shelter that helps homeless women and their families achieve economic independence. Riley also took part in the Chicago Sky’s Gospel Night at Willow Creek Church where she spoke to the congregation and signed autographs.

“Community outreach is not just something that I do; it is a huge part of who I am as a person,” Riley said. “My faith calls me to love others and since I have been blessed with an amazing platform as a professional basketball player, I am very passionate about using this platform for something greater than the sport itself. Numerous people have helped my family over the years and I want to extend that same spirit of compassion to others.”

In addition to her efforts through the team’s community outreach initiatives, Riley is also a longtime ambassador for the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, a global grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa. In her role as an ambassador, Riley has traveled to Nigeria, Angola and Mali to help deliver insecticide-treated bed nets to families. This year, Riley also teamed up with the non-profit organization Share Our Strength in support of their No Kid Hungry campaign which seeks to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

The WNBA Community Assist Award is presented monthly during the season to the player who best reflects the league’s passion for making a difference in the community. In recognition of Riley’s charitable efforts, the WNBA is donating $2,500 to the Nothing But Nets campaign and $2,500 to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign on her behalf.

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