HARRISONBURG, Va., Dec. 23, 2013 – Former James Madison women’s basketball standout and current Chicago Sky forward Tamera Young (JMU ’08) got into the holiday spirit early this season. She purchased 10 season tickets to 2013-14 JMU women’s basketball games and donated them to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (BGCHR).
“What Tamera did is a wonderful thing,” Geo Bonilla, Area Director of Operations for the BGCHR, said. “It was a great donation, especially for those kids that have never been to a basketball game. The majority of them have never seen a game, so that’s a wonderful thing for them to see a new sport at the college level.”
Growing up in Wilmington, N.C., Young was a participant in the Girls Club – similar to the Boys and Girls club, but for girls only. While she participated in many activities as a member, she never had the opportunity to attend college basketball games through the organization. She has now provided an opportunity for local participants to experience JMU game days.
“Being a professional athlete who graduated from James Madison, I wanted to do something to give back and support the women’s basketball team while also helping the community,” Young said.
Young, the first Duke to be drafted into the WNBA, has remained an active part of the JMU family and the Harrisonburg community. When she has free time, she makes sure to return to Harrisonburg or catch the team on the road.
“James Madison has a great women's basketball team and an amazing atmosphere,” Young stated. “I wanted to do something for the kids as well as my for my basketball family.”
Bonilla has already started distributing the tickets to the children and their families so they can attend the Dukes’ home games.
“JMU is a part of the community,” Bonilla iterates. “Once the kids see that and see the teams give back to the community, they say ‘wow, someone cares’.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is open Monday through Friday and provides a safe afterschool program for the children of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Its mission is to “enable all young people, especially those who need [them] most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
Young recently concluded her sixth season in the WNBA, during which the Sky advanced to the East Conference semi-finals. She has played in 185 career games between the Sky (’09-pres.) and the Atlanta Dream (’08-’09) and is averaging 6.8 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game.
For more information on the BGCHR, visit bgchr.org. To get involved, stop by one of the sites to fill out a volunteer form or make a donation. To follow Tamera Young and the Chicago Sky, visit WNBA.com/Sky.