Liberty and DYCD Partner to Fill Gaps in Publicly Available Organized Athletics Activity for High School-Aged Girls in New York City
NEW YORK – AUGUST 12, 2015 – The New York Liberty and New York City Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) today announced a partnership to form the Junior Liberty Basketball League, which was created in order to fill gaps in publicly available organized athletics activities for high school-aged girls throughout New York City.
Several hundred girls have enrolled in the program this summer, and the major components of the Junior Liberty Basketball League Powered by the Department of Youth and Community Development are to promote fitness, community service, and healthy relationships through sports. In addition to league games, which take place at DYCD Cornerstone and Beacon Centers throughout the city, participants will engage in community service initiatives and self-esteem and leadership workshops.
The Junior Liberty League uses the game of basketball to unite girls from across New York City, while providing a positive, structured environment for self-improvement, personal growth, and community development. An extension of the Liberty’s “Burn Bright” campaign, the goal of the partnership with DYCD, is to inspire young women to take their experiences and build a foundation for successful, healthy, adult lives.
“Growing up in Brooklyn, there weren’t many tournaments or leagues for girls to play in; I used to have to travel to Harlem or Queens to play, so to create a program like this is big,” said New York Liberty guard and Fort Greene, Brooklyn, native Epiphanny Prince. “Unfortunately, where I grew up, there are not a lot of positive things to do, you can get caught up in so much negative. For the New York Liberty and DYCD to create this program, and for it to be something that we love too, that is important and I think it will help a lot of girls.”
“Meeting new friends, learning to work as a team, building self-confidence, and leadership skills are important tools acquired through the exciting sport of basketball,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “We are delighted to partner with the New York Liberty and Madison Square Garden to create the Junior Liberty Basketball League Powered by DYCD, which will empower hundreds of young women across the City to play in an environment where strategy, competition and sportsmanship share the court with learning and community service.”
“The opportunity to join a youth sports league can make a huge difference in the life of young New Yorkers,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Thanks to the Junior Liberty Basketball League, hundreds of girls who would otherwise be denied this opportunity will have chance to join a team, develop their talents, build confidence and form bonds with teammates. I thank New York Liberty and the Department of Youth and Community Development for their continued commitment to youth services in New York City.”
The Liberty will host DYCD Night when it takes on the Tulsa Shock at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, August 15, providing league participants with exciting opportunities to interact with Liberty players and compete on the floor at Madison Square Garden.
In addition to pregame recognition for the Junior Liberty League, participants will play a short game on the court, take part in a ball ceremony, and be on the floor for starting lineups and team introductions. After the game, two groups will head back out onto the court to shoot free throws, and there will be an autograph session with Liberty players.
While athletic competition is a key component of the partnership, the Liberty will also help enhance DYCD activities with current and former player appearances at community projects and workshops.
League participants will engage in five community service projects across New York City on Friday, August 14, including a beautification project at MS 2 in Brooklyn; a garden project, park clean up, and community space painting at the Williamsburg Community Center; and a community garden project at MS 343 in the Bronx.
Leadership workshops with the Positive Coaching Alliance will be held on Wednesday-Thursday, August 12-13, covering topics such as sportsmanship, leadership, self-esteem, gender bias and women’s leadership.
The Junior Liberty League championship games will be hosted at MSG Training Center in Greenburgh, N.Y., on Wednesday, August 26.