Norfolk, VA - June 20, 2003- This year 156 girls, ages 12 to 14, will participate in a summer basketball league and health education program sponsored by Sentara Family Care, a Medicaid HMO product of Sentara Health Management. A total of 13 teams representing neighborhoods from throughout Norfolk will participate in the eight-week-long basketball program.
The Sentara Family Care Girls Summer Basketball League season kick off event is scheduled for Saturday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Titusville Recreation Center, 7545 Diven Street in Norfolk. The girls will spend one-half of the day in a health education clinic and the other half in a basketball fundamentals clinic.
"We are excited because this program is focused on bringing health and prevention information directly to young people in their own community," says Sylvia Whitaker, Sentara Family Care Sales and Outreach Manager. Five years ago, the program began in an effort to educate at-risk girls about key health and wellness issues while providing them wholesome competition and character-building opportunities. Since its inception, more than 1,400 girls have participated.
Area organizations have joined Sentara Family Care to support the league including: Neighborhood and Leisure Services of Norfolk, South Hampton Roads Boy's and Girl's Club, Police Assisted City Enforcement (P.A.C.E.), Right Choices for Youth, and the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation.
The Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation has generously funded education components of the program, making it possible to share valuable preventive health information," says Terrina Thomas, Manager of Sentara's Community Health and Prevention Department. "We are delighted to reach so many girls with information to make healthy choices while helping them establish exercise habits that may reduce their risks of developing diabetes or obesity later in life."
On June 26, the eight-week-long season begins with the first match. Before each game, the girls attend a mandatory education session covering topics such as dental hygiene, asthma, breast cancer, diabetes, and healthy eating habits. The season concludes in early August with a single elimination championship round. Sentara Family Care provides each player with a league uniform, award, and photograph with her coach as well as game officials, a Parent's Night Out, and event sponsorship, which includes staffing, exhibits, promotional items, and health education literature for the entire community.
"Sentara has long embraced its responsibility to take an active role in making the communities we serve healthier places," said Chief Executive Officer David L. Bernd. "Sentara Family Care's Girls Summer Basketball League is an innovative program that is making a difference in the lives of young people in Hampton Roads."
Also at the kickoff will be the Rantmobile, sponsored by the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation. The Rantmobile is a car outfitted with high-tech audio and video equipment that gives young people an opportunity to learn about the dangers of tobacco and then records their feelings about tobacco use.
Girls ages 12 to 14 living in 13 Norfolk areas including Bayview, Berkley, Calvert Square, Downtown, Diggs, East Ocean View, Huntersville, Norview, Park Place, Roberts Village, Sherwood, Titustown, and Youngs Terrace are eligible to play in the league.
For a game schedule, call Sentara Family Care at 757.552.7236.