Scoring Baskets for Haiti in Great Falls

Scoring Baskets for Haiti in Great Falls

GF Hoops sponsors “Shots for Shots,” to help vaccination effort in Haiti.

Proceeds from the GF Hoops’ ‘Shots for Shots’ contest will benefit the Community Coalition for Haiti.

Proceeds from the GF Hoops’ ‘Shots for Shots’ contest will benefit the Community Coalition for Haiti. Photos by Bina B. Clark

GF Hoops shoots way beyond any basket by taking on an initiative to provide immunization shots for school-age children in Haiti. The children of Haiti are not permitted to attend school unless they have been immunized. The cost to immunize a child for a year? $1!

It goes without saying, we live in a wonderful and caring community, however, GF Hoops goes one step further by giving back to communities way beyond its boundaries of Great Falls.

For the past two weekends, GF Hoops sponsored a "Shots for Shots" qualifying contest with high scorers advancing to a championship round. For $5, participants had 60 seconds to make as many baskets. Proceeds from the contest will go to benefit the Community Coalition for Haiti (CCH).

CCH is an organization that transforms lives, one at a time through long-term community driven programs in healthcare, education and community development. Specifically, it provides vaccinations to children of the most impoverished regions in Haiti. GF Hoops set out to aid in this effort. The contest was an overwhelming success and they raised over $3,000, far exceeding their goal.

GF HOOPS is a program that provides an outlet for children and young adults with an opportunity to learn, practice, and play basketball on either House or Select Travel teams. The program offers opportunities for players of different skill levels. The common thread throughout its programs is to instill the ideals of teamwork, good sportsmanship, and fair play. Their philosophy of winning games is secondary to achieving these ideals.

In addition to providing an opportunity to play basketball, GF Hoops supports a referee program. The referees range in age from 12 to 25. Each trainee undergoes a rigorous training, including training on-the-floor, quizzes, tests and a final exam. This is all in preparation to learn the rules to enable them to take the floor and make the tough calls when the season starts. The referees are compensated for working the House League games. Being a GF Hoops referee affords them the opportunity to learn how to act under pressure, handle situations with confidence, and, most importantly, it allows them to serve as excellent role models. The program teaches them portable life skills that will remain with them throughout their life.

IN THE INTEREST of continuing to develop its youth programs, in 2015, GF Hoops introduced a Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship is designed to assist college-bound high school seniors to defray some first-year expenses. Four awards will be given each year to a high school seniors who have distinguished themselves as a leaders and upstanding and dedicated members of the GF Hoops Community.

“Pay it forward” says the Commissioner, Michelle Claude, who has served in many different capacities on the board for five years. All three of her children, Nick, Christopher and Tim, have gone through the program as players and referees and have since graduated. With no one left in the program, she still devotes most of her free time by serving as Commissioner of the club as well as the Director of the Referees. “This is a great program,” says Claude. “It goes way beyond learning and playing basketball. It teaches our children to excel as players, athletes and leaders. We are now teaching awareness, with our Shots for Shots program and are able to make a difference in the lives of the children in Haiti.”

Bina B. Clark