What time is it? SUMMERTIME! SCHOOL’S OUT, SCREAM AND SHOUT! Unfortunately, we doubt kids today are still singing the infamous track from High School Musical to celebrate summertime and school being out, but we still can!
With the warm summer months here, everyone is excited to get outside and catch those summer rays. Olympic Gold Medalist and WNBA All‐Star, Tamika Catchings feels the same way and wants the youth of today to understand that even though school is out, they can still be working to achieve their dreams. Catchings believes that the youth of today are the stars of tomorrow. In 2004, she formed the Catch the Stars Foundation to empower youth with Fitness, Literacy and Character Development Programs that encourage them to set goals, dream bigger and achieve more.
IMPACT OFF THE COURT
On the court, Tamika Catchings’ legacy is cemented as one of the most extraordinary women ever to play the game of basketball. Indiana’s “do-everything” forward completed 16 seasons in the WNBA, before stepping away from her future-hall-of-fame-career following the 2016 season. Her naming as the recipient of the very first ESPN Humanitarian Award in 2015 and a 19-year run of community service by her Catch the Stars Foundation are testaments to her work off the court and have proven even more impactful than her MVP career on the court.
Catchings felt compelled to start the foundation when realizing that lack of support for our youth results in many failing to reach their full potential. The foundation’s programs target youth throughout Indianapolis, specifically supporting and assisting the cities under-served and low to moderate-income communities.
- Catch the Stars hosts fitness clinics where children and adults learn tips to improve overall health, attend nutrition classes and have access to health and wellness screenings. These events are free to anyone who donates a canned good to be given to Gleaners Food Bank.
- Fitting to Catchings’ background, Catch the Stars also hosts basketball camps where children learn the importance of sportsmanship, nutrition, academics and goal setting.
- Youth Development
- Dream Catchers is a 6-week program that teaches children ages 8-12 financial literacy and business skills.
- V.O.I.C.E. Leadership program deals with peer pressure, decision-making, financial and community responsibility and career planning.
- The Back to School Celebration motivates and excites local youth about the upcoming school year. Over 1,000 school supply-filled backpacks are given to grades 1-12 students.
- Catch the Stars Reading Corners is designed to encourage youth to read by providing books and a fun environment. Catch the Stars Reading Corners are currently in Riley Children’s Hospital and Auntie Mame’s Child Development Center.
At MJ, we feel very fortunate to have offices in three major cities where giving back to the community is ingrained in every member. Tamika Catchings is an excellent example of a person who, even with all the success and accolades afforded by her career, still chooses to give her time to the thing that matters most to her — her fellow community members. Her work to advance education directly correlates with the core pillars of the MJ Foundation, and we feel very fortunate to live in a community with such an active force for good.
GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME
There are many ways to support Catch the Stars!
- Join the Volunteer Team! Many children lack positive mentors to encourage them to reach for the stars. Giving them your time and attention makes a world of difference.
- Donate! Like many nonprofit organizations, Catch the Stars relies on support from the community to offer programming for the children of the Indianapolis community.
- Visit Tea’s Me Café! Support Tamika’s two local tea cafes based in Indianapolis. Be sure to check out the “artist” wall! This is one of many features that allows young adults to showcase their artwork and continue to build their entrepreneurial skills.
So, while you’re outside catching those rays this summer and shooting hoops, we encourage you to think of ways you can give back to the community. To learn more about Catchings’ career and foundation click the button below.LEARN MORE