View the Videos…BlazeSports Training in Haiti

View the video highlights of our Haiti Sport for Development project…click on links below:

BlazeSports with SOHAMO in Cite Soleil, Haiti

BlazeSports America’s Workshop for Haitian Sport and Social Welfare Leaders

BlazeSports Using Soccer for Development in Haiti

BlazeSports Brings Cutting Edge Soccer Training to Haiti

A team of BlazeSports America staff is in Haiti conducting training in soccer and wheelchair basketball while also planning our next round of activities for the coming months. Led by BlazeSports’ Director of International Sport Development Stuart Sharp and Haiti Country Director Daniel Pierre-Charles, the team is making inroads into empowering Haitians with disabilities through sport.

On Tuesday, January 24 Stuart Sharp, a world renowned football (soccer) coach, offered a cutting edge coaching session on new “attacking” techniques in football (soccer) at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Civil Action with the Haitian Under 13 Boys national team.  This session also provided an opportunity to recruit potential participants for the Department of State Educational and Cultural Affair SportUnited project which will result in a USA visit for a contingent of Haitian youth and young adults.

BlazeSports Haiti staff also met with the leadership of the Haitian National Paralympic Committee (NPC Haiti) to share BlazeSports’ vision of disability sport in Haiti.

Today (January 25), the BlazeSports team met with USAID officials and also visited our partners in Cite Soleil (SOHAMO and Association for Progressive Persons with Disabilities) where the team delivered  an inclusive wheelchair basketball and soccer session for youth (both male and female).

USAID officials tour the BlazeSports office compound.

Stuart Sharp points out a feature of the compound to the USAID contingent.The team discusses the BlazeSports plan of action with the USAID group.

A discussion and gift presentation with the SOHAMO leadership team.BlazeSports staff presents SOHAMO leadership with basketballs.

Felipe Rodrigues leads the inclusive basketball clinic.

Felipe Rodriques works with participant on shooting skills in the SOHAMO camp.

The basketball clinic was attended by kids of all ages.

The faces of two of the many children living in the Cite Soleil SOHAMO encampment.

The SOHAMO Gran...so glad to see you are still well!

Milan "Evans" Chery, BlazeSports staff member in Haiti, discusses the current and future activities with a group of SOHAMO participants.

On Thursday, BlazeSports staff hosted a workshop with key partners in Haiti such as the Secretary of State for Integration for Persons with Disabilities and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Civic Action. The workshop also included the announcement of the formation and official launch the BlazeSports Sports Academy in Haiti.  There was extensive media coverage for the event from top Haitian news reporters.

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Signs Scholarship with Collegiate Powerhouse – Fighting Illini

Georgia Blazer Christina Young drives the lane.

BlazeSports America’s continued focus on education has paid off for senior Georgia Blazer Christina Young. On January 17th, Christina, a student at Cass High School in White, Georgia, was surrounded by family, friends and Cass High School officials as she signed her letter of intent to play wheelchair basketball at the University of Illinois. Christina said that she knew she wanted to be a Fighting Illini since her first visit to their Wheelchair Basketball camp several years ago. Young will be the fourth Georgia Blazer to play for the Illini.

The University of Illinois has been an avid supporter and contributor to disabled sports since 1948 when they were the first post-secondary institution to provide a support service program enabling students with disabilities to attend. The Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team’s national reputation was built by former players including Sharon Hedrick, Jean Driscoll and Sarah Castle. The Illini women have won 13 national championships including three consecutive titles from 2006 to 2008.

Christina has been a Georgia Blazer for her entire basketball career spanning 10 seasons. She has managed to maintain a 3.7 GPA throughout high school. In addition to basketball, Christina has been a nationally ranked member of the Georgia Blazer’s Track and Field Team as well as a state champion in the 200 and 800 meter for her high school track team. Christina plans to study Kinesiology at the University of Illinois this coming fall.

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Blazers Win 3 of 4 Games in Alabama

The Georgia Blazers traveled to Birmingham, AL for a one-day tournament with neighboring rivals the Lakeshore Foundation. Lakeshore played host to a large three-day Pioneer Classic Tournament, which attracted 15 adult teams from as far away as Texas, Illinois and New York and included the opportunity for four junior division games .

The Blazers’ Varsity team started the action with a solid overall performance. The Varsity had lost to Lakeshore in the November North Carolina tournament during which they were missing senior Martinez Johnson. The Blazers are a different team when they have their veteran center on the floor.  The first half was a back and forth battle with neither side leading by more than four points. Lakeshore led 18-17 at half-time.  The second half was more of the same until the Blazers built a five point lead, 29-24 with 7 minutes to go. Lakeshore decided they weren’t done and stormed back to tie the game at 31 with 4 minutes to play. Defense was stiff on both sides of the ball, but the Blazers edged out a 33-31 lead with 2 minutes to go. With only 55 seconds left to play however, Lakeshore score to tie the game and send it into overtime. There were only 2 points scored in all of overtime and, unfortunately, Lakeshore made the shot and the Blazers lost 35-33 in OT. Despite the loss, the Blazers were happy to have three players in double digit scoring. Senior Christina Young led the way with 11 points, while senior Martinez Johnson and junior Curran Brown each had 10 points. Bryan Powell rounded out the scoring with 2 points.

Senior Christina Young led the Blazers with 11 points in the first game.

The Blazers’ Prep Team followed the Varsity’s first game and played back-to-back games. The Blazers’ younger squad was coming off an impressive 5-0 tournament record in North Carolina.  This was the first match-up against the Lakeshore regional rivals this season. The Junior Blazers, known for their defense, played well and led the first game at the break 10-3. The Blazers played an offensively conservative game, trying to get all eight players on the scoreboard.  The Blazers finished with a 22-9 win, with 7 of 8 players scoring points. KJ Reese, Sameul Armas, Chance Boyd and Josh Joines scored 4 points each, while Collin LaFon, Collin Lancaster and Cameron Elzey each scored2 points.

Samuel Armas attempts a foul shot during the first prep game.

Chance Boyd was one of 4 Blazers who scored 4 points in game 1.

During the second Prep game, the Blazers continued with a strong defensive presence and led Lakeshore at halftime 14-0. The Blazers continued to play an offensively conservative game, once again trying to get all eight players on the scoreboard. For the second time only 7 of the 8 players scored, however, a different player went scoreless, so combining the two games all 8 Blazers scored at least one basket. The final score of the second game was 22-4. The Blazers were led by Josh Joines who scored 6. KJ Reese, and Cameron Elzey scored 4 points, while Sameul Armas, Chance Boyd, Collin Lancaster and Taevan Grant each scored 2 points. The back-to-back wins give the Georgia Blazers Prep Team with a 7-0 record early in the 2012 season.

Cameron Elzey scores four points in game 2.

The 2012 Georgia Blazer Prep Team.

The long day of competition concluded with a rematch of the Varsity teams. Tough defense and sluggish offense was the story of a low scoring game two. The Blazers led at half time 10-9. At the six minute mark of the second half the Blazers had opened a 18-15 lead. The regional rivals battled back and forth for the final six minutes and the Blazers defense would prevail with a 20-15 win.  The Blazers were led by senior Martinez Johnson with 8 points. Christina Young and Brian Powell each had 4 points, while Brent O’Grady and Curran Brown each added 2 points.

Martinez Johnson and Bryan Powell tough defense in game 2.

The 2012 Georgia Blazer Varsity Team.

The Blazers next tournament is the Music City Madness Southern Regional Qualifying Tournament, February 24-25.

The Blazers travel in style on the BlazeBus with equipment trailer.

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In our hearts and on our minds…

As noted previously on this site, BlazeSports America is committed to serving Haiti and promoting health, development and empowerment through sport for all Haitians and particularly those with disabilities.

More than 250,000 Haitians lost their lives in the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. Countless thousands experienced debilitating injuries that will affect them for the remainder of their life. Millions were left homeless and today, two years later, hundreds of thousands of Haitians are still living in tent communities.

You can help Haiti by making a donation to BlazeSports America to support our programs there. Please consider making a donation! Click Donate-Now to give…any amount helps!

 

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BlazeSports partners with Jordan NPC and 3 Universities on USAID project

BlazeSports America will partner with the Jordan Paralympic Committee and three major Jordanian universities in implementing a USAID funded project to promote development of opportunities for youth with disabilities through sport in Jordan. BlazeSports met with Prince Raad bin Zaid, President of the Jordan Paralympic Committee and the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities. Prince Raad expressed his great pleasure and support for the project. The Prince spoke of the power of sport in making a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities. Likewise, he spoke of the importance of international collaborations such as this project in preparing emerging leaders to serve the needs of persons with disabilities in developing nations such as Jordan. In addition, Secretary General Basel Horani of the Jordan Paralympic Committee met with BlazeSports and also pledged his support for the collaborative project.

The Deans of Physical Education (pictured on the banner L to R) – Dean Hussein Abu Al-Ruz of Yarmouk University, Dean Arabi Al-Moghrabi of University of Jordan and Dean Omar Hindawi of Hashemite University – also met with BlazeSports at the Jordan Paralympic Committee Headquarters in Amman. All agreed to work closely with BlazeSports in implementing the project. In addition, the Jordan Football (Soccer) Association also pledged to provide critical conference and athletic facilities in support of the project activities to be conducted in Amman over the next 2 years. Project activities will also be conducted in Irbid where Yarmouk University is located.

The collaborative project will be led in Jordan by Country Project Coordinator Dean Abu Al-Ruz who will be assisted by Dean Hindawi. BlazeSports will be establishing a country office in the first quarter of 2012 in Amman.

The project activities will include several train-the-trainer workshops as well as two major disability sport festivals. The sport activities in which workshops and clinics will be focused include the following:

  • Wheelchair basketball
  • Boccia
  • Table tennis
  • Soccer (5- and 7-aside)
  • Track and Field
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