2016 Health Corps Fellow, Rwanda
Chloe grew up in the Boston area with three brothers. She is a graduate of Merrimack College where she studied Sports Medicine. She was a member of the Varsity Basketball team during her four years at Merrimack. From there, Chloe went on to play basketball professionally for a year in Israel. Chloe loves to coach basketball to athletes of all ages and abilities; she is big on teaching confidence and loves building personal relationships with the players and coaches that she has been able to work with.
2016 Health Corps Fellow, Rwanda
Jake is from Durham, North Carolina where he was a standout on the Carrboro HS basketball team. From there, he attended UNC Chapel Hill where he played for the UNC JV team for two years. He recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration with distinction and an emphasis on entrepreneurship. His prior work includes an internship in finance and a summer with Nike's Track & Field Sports Marketing Team. Fun Fact: Was a member of the NC All State Chorus in 8th Grade!
2015 Health Corps Fellow, Rwanda
Jasmine Bishop is one half of our Health Corp Fellow champions and she plans on holding on to the title for a while. Along with Matt McGinley she left her family and friends to start her journey to Rwanda a couple months ago. Growing up in Waterville, Maine Jasmine has had a passion for basketball for as long as she could remember. So to bring that passion to Shooting Touch is a big positive for everyone in the organization.
Jasmine has been using her knowledge of basketball to help coach the kids of Rwanda get better physically and mentally. Besides coaching Jasmine tries to have fun with the kids too by having little pickup games whenever she can. The way Jasmine balances serious coaching and playful moments with the kids really helps bring more and more of them to attend the events.
Both Jasmine and Matt have just started working on having more girls participate in the games and there has been a great outcome as of late. As of now they both seem to be having a blast and we wish them the best.
2015 Health Corp Fellow, Rwanda
Matt McGinley, also one half of the Corps champions has held the title for a couple months now. A graduate from Sonoma State University with a degree in Communications Matt has a lot of skills under his belt. Along with this he has a strong passion for basketball that helps brings the best out of anyone he plays with.
Both he and Jasmine have been coaching the younger and older kids on developing their skills on the court, but that's not all of it. Matt tries his best to give the kids some good social skills by keeping track of how they respect one another. Whether its showing up to practice on time or just listening to the coaches, Matt wants everyone to respect each other. His journey may have just started but there has already been a lot that he has experienced and we at Shooting Touch wish him the best.
Current In-Country Program Director
Current fellow, Lisanne Comeau has been a huge part of taking our programs in Rwanda to a whole other level in the past year through her planning, ingenuity, and hard work. Lisanne, a Canadian citizen, is a graduate of Queens University.
After the veritable building spree during Kevin and Priscilla's 2013-2014 fellowship, Lisanne and Remy elected to build only one court in Gahini located in between two schools. In order to make the payment for the Gahini court possible, Lisanne traveled everyday for two weeks to 6 different ATMs. That dogged determination made the construction go smoothly, and the court opened in early February with hundreds of kids showing up and hoping to play.
Because she and Remy can't be at every site all the time, Lisanne organized coaching clinics for Rwandan youth coaches who have shown considerable potential and leadership qualities. Together with Remy, Lisanne developed the curriculum and led the daily sessions for the 12 coaches during the three weeks of training. At the end of training, all 12 coaches received a certificate for completing the course. At times these coaches lead practices without Remy or Lisanne there to help, thus fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility among junior coaches broadens their impact and is essential for Shooting Touch's sustainability plan.
In order to target other underserved populations in the community, Lisanne sacrificed the little free time she had left to start up a women's only exercise and empowerment group in Rwinkwavu, the first Shooting Touch location in the Eastern Provice. Soon 20 women were attending every session getting exercise and challenging gender norms.Lisanne also helped establish a partnership with RBC (Rwanda Biomedical Center) who supplied guest speakers and pamphlets on HIV/AIDS and Malarria prevention
During her final months for the Fellowship Lisanne is working hard to expand Shooting Touch's NGO status in Rwanda and continue the great success of the country's first youth league. Lisanne truly embraced all aspects of Rwandan life, speaking Kinyarwandan and even partaking in Umuganda, a monthly day of community service for all Rwandans. Because of how much she has grown to love her new home, she is staying in Rwanda for another year, filling the shoes of Isa Guzman as Shooting Touch's In-Country Program Director.
2014 Sabbatical Grantee, Rwanda
Our other current Fellow, Remy Ndiaye, originally from Senegal, graduated from Dallas Baptist College after attending SEEDS (Sports for Education and Economic Development in Senegal). In the true spirit of Sport for Development, Remy is now inciting and replicating the change he was once a recipient of.
The hard work of Remy and his 2014 partner in crime Lisanne Comeau has made the long term dream of Shooting Touch a reality. Upon arrival he and Lisanne were able to take the foundation of the two cohorts before them to start up a youth basketball league between all of the Shooting Touch locations in the Eastern Province. For the first time ever, teams from Rwinkwavu, Kayonza, Rukara, Gahini, and Nyamirama now regularly play against each other during the weekend. Many of these youth have barely ever traveled beyond their villages, so the games are not only a lot of fun, but the journey itself is an experience.
Remy's base in the Eastern Province was Kayonza which allowed him to utilize all of the different resources in the area. The 3x3 tournament last fall was a huge community event because of Remy's ability to enlist the help of groups like the Top Chair Store and FERWABA (Rwandan Basketball Federation) as well as individuals like Dr. Philbert Muhire whose keynote speech on HIV/AIDS prevention reached hundreds of spectators. The tournament was even recorded and broadcasted nationwide on TV!
Another great tournament in Kayonza was the end of summer vacation tournament that included dance groups, artists, and even a karate demonstration. Remy's work has integrated Shooting Touch into the Kayonza community as a source of fun, education, and unity.
With on-court activities and a foundation for the youth league, now well-established, Remy and Lisanne have been able to put more time and emphasis into health education by designing comprehensive learning sessions and bringing in more medical professionals as guest speakers. Each month Remy and Lisanne concentrate on a different aspect of health education starting in January with malaria. Remy will remain in Rwanda until August continuing to make the youth league a huge success. When he isn't showing off his enormous dunking prowess, Remy is busy coaching and mentoring the kids at Kayonza and Gahini.
2013 Sabbatical Grantee, Rwanda
Kevin teamed up with Basketball Health Corps Fellow, Priscilla Dodoo to greatly expand our program in Rwanda. Building on the work of our 2012 Fellows, Casey Stockton and Isaura Guzman, Kettl and Dodoo were able to hit the ground running spending their first month and a half in Gikondo coaching and teaching there before moving to Rwinkwavu and Kayonza respectively.
Throughout his year of service Kevin put his Bentley MBA to great use by building and refurbishing courts in the Eastern province. He coordinated the renovation and expansion of the Kayonza court next to the Kayonza Youth and Friendly Center. Crucially, he identified Rukara as a good place to expand Shooting Touch. After minor but highly necessary renovations, two courts in Rukara became operational and accessible for more than 3,000 kids! In March he coordinated the full construction of another court in Nyamirama dedicated to his late Bentley teammate Joey Glynn and strategically located it near 8 primary and secondary schools. Finally, he sourced and donated brand new backboards to the Streets Ahead Children's Center for their play area.
A major part of Kevin's work was collaborating with other partner organizations in Rwanda. With Ubumwe, he brought 35 kids from the Eastern Province to the capital Kigali for a friendly basketball tournament, which for many of the kids, was their first time EVER in Kigali. He organized a two day clinic with the US Embassy and NBA Africa. The biggest tournament of the year was the Shooting Touch Tournament of Champions in Kayonza which took place at the same time as Co-Founders Justin and Lindsey Kittredge visited Rwanda. Over 100 kids came from 4 different Shooting Touch locations for the day of the tournament which was a massive success bringing in almost 1000 spectators.
Kettl left Rwanda having trained 7 coaches to carry on his work in Rwanda. Those coaches remain critical in making Shooting Touch's programs sustainable. By the end of his fellowship, 350 kids were playing on courts around the country through Shooting Touch. In summary, Kevin's work was incredible and laid the groundwork (often quite literally) for a national youth league that is continuing to be developed by his successors Lisanne and Remy. During his down time, he played in the Rwandan professional basketball league. He is hoping to return to Rwanda soon to visit all the friends and family he made.
Since returning to the USA in the fall of 2014, Kevin has completed his MBA in Marketing and Management. He started working for the NBA in their Global Retail Development sector this March.
2013 Sabbatical Grantee, Rwanda
Priscilla and her 2013 counterpart, Kevin Kettl, were a dynamic duo who together helped to increase Shooting Touch's programs in Rwanda. Along with Kevin she spent the first month and a half of her stay in a suburb of Kigali called Gikondo where there was an existing Shooting Touch court and program. While in Gikondo her and Kevin organized the second annual Shooting Touch December Classic which included 15 teams and more than 100 participants. During the tournaments Priscilla helped to coordinate workshops and guest speakers to teach about different health epidemics such as Malaria and HIV/AIDS which still infect thousands of youth and adults every year in Rwanda.
Priscilla also helped to oversee the construction of the Kayonza court and then ran both on and off court programming. Because of her hard work, Kayonza has grown into one of Shooting Touch's biggest sites in just 2 years. During the court renovations in Rukara, Priscilla, despite having no painting experience, took the lead and painted on the Shooting Touch logo to both of the courts. At Rukara her and Kevin were quickly able to establish four girls and boys teams with more than 20 kids on each.
Priscilla connected with the local girls orphanage, SACCA (Streets Ahead Children's Centre Association) and was able to begin running basketball practices twice a week with the girls. Those at SACCA are some of the most disadvantaged and marginalized in Rwanda, and Priscilla did an amazing job teaching and coaching them in order to improve their self-confidence and bring joy into their life. She built great relationships with many of the girls in a short time.
Immediately after returning from Rwanda, Priscilla moved to Jena, Germany where she currently plays for USV Jena in the German women's professional league. She had incredible success leading the league in scoring and helping her team win the championship! She also enrolled and passed a German language course at a university in Jena and plans to return to Rwanda soon to visit one of her many global families.
2012 Sabbatical Grantee, Rwanda
Together with Casey Stockton in Kigali, Isa built (1) court in Gikondo and employed (80) people as on court construction workers/paid coaches. She logged (400) of coaching training hours and distributed (300) balls between Kigali and Rwinkwavu. Completed (2,595) participant hours in Kigali coaching coaches, mentoring youth and building courts.Hosted 1st Annual December Classic Tournament with local youths and on the ground organizations, which involved over 120 participants, and 200 community members of Nyamirambo section of Kigali.Produced, filmed and created English/Kinyarwanda Coaching Instructional DVD, with over (40) drills and exercisescovering passing, shooting, rebounding, defense, conditioning, teambuilding, disease prevention, and gender equality.
Solo in Kigali starting in February, Isa helped mentor and coach fundamentals of the game at a street kids center. She held open forum discussions at the end of practices creating dialogue on facts/prevention/promotion of weekly theme topic, i.e. malaria, nutrition, careers, hard work, sexual violence.Secured Rwandan National Team as guest speaker (a female and male player) at practices and to talk with the kids about how they themselves worked hard (especially during the era of the genocide) and what it takes to pursue basketball and the benefits (i.e getting school fees paid for it you are a good enough player on a "pro" team which was motivation). Ran a 5-on-5 tournament in July for kids, 16-20 years old in which each player will bring their own (8) player roster to play with other teams that register, expanding the reach of Shooting Touch's mission, and giving responsibilityand involvement to players.
Partnered with PSI (a public health organization) on all camps to speak about HIV, educate on safe sex and prevention.Condom donation was accomplished at (3) large camps..Logged (1,650) youth participant hours, trained (9) coaches, (3) female and created( 3) youth teams with (12) femalesincluded.Created and ran (5) basketball events engaging the community on all levels includingRafi'Kids Tournament, (2) tournaments in Kigali with newly establish youth leagues among others.
Since leaving Kigali, Isa's Kimisagara program has, in fact, expanded, totaling 4 teams, up from the 3 she established while there. Her trained coaches continue to hold trainings twice a week, and independently organize matches against other teams in Kigali. She spent three months coaching inCochin, India as a Head Coach for the Junior NBA India Program.
Since her stint in India, Isaura has returned to us as Shooting Touch Country Director for the 2014-2015 sabbatical year. In her role as Country Director, she worked alongside the new grantees in creating and starting the Shooting Touch Youth Basketball League and began a collaboration with the Society for Family Health (SFH) for health training services. She recently took a job offer with the NBA Yao Ming School of Basketball and will be flying out to Beijing, China in July 2015 for a year.
2012 Sabbatical Grantee, Rwanda
Together with Isaura Guzman in Kigali, Casey rehabbed (1) court in Gikondo and employed (80) people as on court construction workers/paid coaches. He logged (400) coaching training hours anddistributed (300) basketballs in Kigali and Rwinkwavu. He completed (3,000) participant hours in Kigali coaching coaches, mentoring youth and building courts. He ran the 1st Annual December Classic with local youths and on the ground organizations, which involved over 120 youth participants, and 200 community members of the Nyamirambo section of Kigali.
In February, he moved out to rural subsistence farming village of Rwinkwavu, where he constructed1 court, effectively bringing basktball to where it had never been before. There he taught communication, problem solving, HIV/disease prevention, conflict resolution, respect, and timeliness. He also produced, filmed and created a English/Kinyarwanda Coaching Instructional DVD, the first of its kind with over (40) drills and exercises covering passing, shooting, rebounding, defense, conditioning, team building, disease prevention, and gender equality.
Casey trained 1 apprentice coach to be great community leader for kids. Also he developed a "coach-in-training" program for high schoolers to volunteer and teach younger players. Over the course of the year he held (6) community tournaments and held 20 "Girls Only" basketball days, one of which hosted an astounding (51) girls. He organized (20) community "match nights" in Rwinkwavu where an NBA game was shown on the big screen. He established 4 teams in Rwinkwavu. In all he totaled over 600 coaching training hours and 4,600 participant training hours in Rwinkwavu.
Since leaving Rwinkwavu, Casey has returned to the states and worked with Shooting Touch in Boston, MA as the Director of Basketball Operations for 8 months. In the fall of 2014 he accepted an offer to be a Team Enrichment Academic Readiness Fellow at the Harlem RBI organization.
2011 Sabbatical Grantee, South Africa and Zimbabwe
Leah Westbrooks built 2 outdoor basketball courts in Zimbabwe and hosted youth clinics onharmful cultural practices and HIV/AIDS prevention in South Africa. In Gulati, Zimbabwe Leah established (6) high school basketball teams and started (6) basketball clubs. Leah provided (3) scholarships for children to go back to school and certified (4) local youth to work and coach basketball in the village.She provided (2) schools with basketball uniforms and provided (12) schools with basketball equipment.Leah certified (35) school teachers in basketball coaching and coached (4,100) youth in South Africa and Zimbabwe over 10 months.
Since leaving Zim and SA, Leah gained her Master's Degree in Community and Youth Work from Durham University in Northern England, where she also played basketball on a scholarship. She is now working for Young Hope in Houston, TX, working as a community worker and certified chaplain, in which she runs feeding programs for the homeless, develops after school programs for at-risk teens, and serves as a visitor and minister to incarcerated females.
2010 Sabbatical Grantee, Senegal, Brazil, and Cape Verde
Refurbished (6) baskets, (2) full basketball courts, (2) half basketball courts and provided essential basketball equipment in Cape Verde. Tome ran (3) basketball camps and taught off-court essential life skills on health promotion and disease prevention, leadership and nutrition in Senegal. Tome held (2) basketball clinics in the "favelas" of Rio teaching inner city Brazilian youth on the fundamentals of basketball and the importance of HIV/AIDs and violence prevention.Tome trained Brazil's CUFA staff members on leadership and educational exercises that were incorporated into CUFA's basketball programs.Tome set up (3) "safe sex" clinics and condom pick up spotsthroughout the cities to promote education and health promotion in Cape Verde and Brazil.Tome coached, educated and mentored 2,400 youths in camps and clinics in three different countries over the course of 10 months.
Since returning from Brazil, Senegal, and Cape Verde, Tome is now the Athletic Director at Hill House, in Boston, MA.