UWantGame (UWG) student-athletes have enjoyed attending a variety of events such as the African-Americans in Sports Panel, NY Knicks Orange and Blue Scrimmage, Long Island University Women’s Season Opener Game and Long Island University Open House, just to name a few.
Sports Business Panel Discussions at BOSS – UWANTGAME held two Sports Business Panel Discussions at the Business of Sports School in NYC in February and March, each focusing on a different theme. For the February event, African Americans in Sports Panel Discussion, UWG introduced students to African Americans who are making waves in the industry, each discussing their career paths and experiences. The panel was composed of Cherise George (Fan Development Associate at the New York Knicks and Social Media Correspondent at Hard 2 Guard TV), Austin Moss (Manager of Player Engagement at the NFL), and Ashley Blackwood (branding & communications expert who has previously work for the New York Knicks and GMR Marketing). In March, UWG held its Women in Sports Panel Discussion, where we paid homage to female executives during Women’s History Month. The guest speakers touched on the journey each took to discover their respective passions within the sports industry, the experiences that shaped their career development, and some of the mentors that helped lead the way for them, among other themes. The panel consisted of Morgan Cato (Senior Manager of Early Career Development at the NBA), Carla Lide (Player Engagement Coordinator at the NFL), Guiselle Torres (Senior Counsel at the MLS), Mia Hall (Writer, Public Speaker & Career Strategist), and Shana Stephenson (Editor-in-Chief of All Sports Everything).
Rose Classic Spring Speaker Series – Continuing to build on its partnership with one of the top girls basketball tournaments in the northeast, UWANTGAME returned to the Rose Classic in the spring of 2016 for a weekly speaker series with participating student-athletes. The 8-week speaker series was composed of two 45-minute sessions on Saturdays. The objective of the program is to create awareness of the various off the field career opportunities in sports for girls by exposing them to female executives in the sports industry. The spring of 2016 Speaker Series kicked off in April and ran through the end of May. UWANTGAME’s 2016 Speaker Series programming focused on collegiate and professional development. Among the weekly topics were social media training, the creative media process, career development advice and sexual harassment discourse.
Fall Speaker Series – Student-athletes from all over the northeast took part in competitive basketball at the Rose Classic Tournament in Brooklyn, NY. The Rose Classic created a unique atmosphere where student athletes can grow athletically and socially and now in partnership with UWANTGAME, academically and personally. The UWANTGAME Speaker Series at Rose Classic, kicked off in September 2015 and ran throughout the duration of the tournament. Students had the opportunity to listen to powerful speakers in the sports industry and former collegiate athletes in various topics targeted to sharpen their “Game Behind the Game.” Topics included Transitioning to Collegiate Athletics, Effective Use of Social Media, Improving Self Worth, and How to Use Nutrition to Improve Athleticism.
Nike Zoom City Event – Student-athletes began the 2015 UWantGame season with a fun and interactive training at Nike Zoom City Arena. Students were dressed in Nike apparel and the latest Nike basketball sneakers as they trained on a full LED court. Nike athletes made appearances as Nike Master Trainers and used virtual training programs to take the UWG athletes to the next level. The hour-long session challenged the athletes and their skills. Experiencing Nike Zoom City was a special way to engage with the students and a great way to start the UWantGame 2015 Season.
Career Preparation Workshop – Students kicked off their break with a career prep workshop that covered topics like interviews, projecting confidence, resumes, and workplace conduct and attire. The students worked with professionals Nicole Smart-Garcia, NFL, Pat Roque, Golf Marketing Specialist, and Sandra Florent, Founder of Sports in Heels and Owner of Solo Dove Public Relations Firm to learn how to turn their weaknesses into strengths, resume tips, and how to use their athlete experiences to their advantage. The night concluded with the students receiving job shadow / intern assignments with professionals from across a variety of industries.
Job Shadowing / Internships – Ten companies were signed on to provide day job shadowing opportunities to students to give them a sense of what a “day in the life of” a working professional would be like. Students learned about public relations, accounting, consumer products, officiating, film producing, location scouting, community relations, event planning, marketing and retail. Students participated in actual meetings and helped out with tasks around the office and received evaluations on their performance. Their evaluations let us know that we have star students ready for the professional world!
Jordan Brand Classic – On April 18th, students concluded their career week by unwinding at the Jordan Brand Classic. The prep basketball event was held at the Barclay’s Center and featured the top prep basketball players from the NY metro area in a regional game and the top 26 prospects from across the country that were selected to play in a national game.
Special Olympics Basketball Clinic – This year’s UWG community service event was held at NYU with the New York Special Olympics. 21 UWG mentees, mentors, and leadership participated in a half-day basketball skills clinic and basketball tournament honoring champion athletes of the Special Olympics. The UWG team was paired with athletes as they competed in skill drills such as free throws, dribbling, passing, and foot movements. They also played games and created art work in the Special Olympics’ Olympic Village. The event was so successful that the team was asked to joining the SO for a future event. We look forward to creating a lasting relationship with our new friends of the Special Olympics New York.
Women’s History Month – Over 40 women and young ladies of UWG, LIU and National Football League convened at the NFL headquarters to celebrate Women’s History Month. The women were matched in several small groups where they had group conversations on careers in sports and opportunities for young student-athletes. The evening was capped, literally when the participants all received NFL knit caps and other fun fan goodies along with a tour of the NFL offices.
African Americans in Sports – The LIU Sports Management Club and UWANTGAME hosted a panel discussion and networking seminar for UWANTGAME mentees and LIU students. With 117 students, student-athletes, and professionals in attendance, the panel, educated the audience to the variety of opportunities and the challenges faced in careers in the sports and entertainment industry. The panel consisted of Ashley Blackwood, NY Kincks, Stanley Lumax, Nike, Tony Leake, ESPN, and Randy Lewis, Barclays Center/Brooklyn Nets. The panel was moderated by LIU adjunct professor, Director of LIU Sports Management club and UWantGame’s very own Joe Branch. He concluded the panel Q&A by asking all attending sports professionals in the audience to join the panel in speaking to the students and student-athletes at the groundbreaking event.
You Make the Call – UWantGame students were invited to a special Black History Month presentation at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan . The presentation allowed the students to engage with professionals on the other side of things as they learned about African Americans who helped change the face of officiating at all levels. Special guest panel included Johnny Grier, the first Black NFL Referee (White Hat) , Carl Johnson Sr. – the first Black NFL Vice President of Officials and Annice Canady the 1st Black NCAA Female Official. The students learned and performed the “Zebra Dance”, a combination of officiating call signals and trendy dance moves and also made their own flags.
Mentor/Mentee Dinner – UWG opened up the New Year with an awesome event hosted by two UWG board members, the Smoke Joint Group. This was the first time several of our mentors met mentees, new potential mentors and parents came out to show support and hear more about the organization. The bingo game with tons of prizes courtesy of the NFL was awesome. This was an excellent way for everyone to meet and interact. Before the game was over there were 2 sets of Knicks and Nets tickets given away as well! We had over 50 people in attendance whether it be parents, coaches, mentors, UWG administrators and collegiate athletes from LIU.
LIU Women’s Season Opener Game – On November 8th, the LIU Lady Blackbirds opened the season playing against Columbia University’s Lions. Female student-athletes from BCAM and Banneker attended and the young ladies were on the edge of their seats throughout the game discussing plays.
LIU Open House – The LIU Open House on November 10th, created the opportunity for the student athletes to meet with college advisors, hear from students, walk on campus, see classrooms and engage with members and players from the various social clubs and the sports teams. The highlight for the female student athletes was meeting some of the players from the basketball team that they watched play just two days prior. The students were enlightened by the Lady Blackbirds giving them the inside scoop on what it means to be a collegiate athlete. After the Open House, the students stayed to watch the women’s volleyball team play against Robert Morris.
Personal Development Training – In this November 11th training the students discussed many aspects of self worth and personal value. Students were given an opportunity to discuss how they view themselves, how they think others view them and showing up every day as their authentic self vs showing up to fulfill other’s expectations. After the discussion, the students completed self evaluation exercises and shared with other participants.
College Prep – Session I (11/20) and Session II (12/17) – Students participated in two college prep sessions that covered forms, dates and necessary steps for seniors in getting ready for college.
Leadership Day – The UWG program kicked off with a Leadership Day at the Bedford Y with student athletes from BCAM, Banneker and Midwood high schools. The day was filled with interactive, engaging and educational activities such as guest speakers, an introduction to NCAA eligibility and team building/interactive games.
Guest speaker, Angie Sagnelli discussed her experience as a former collegiate athlete and being a mentor for UWG. Students also heard from Allie Moogan a two-year mentee of UWG. She shared her experience in the program and how having a mentor has impacted her life.
Orange and Blue Scrimmage – UWG students attended the New York Knicks’ Orange and Blue Scrimmage at Columbia University. Former NY Knicks players, such as Allen Houston, John Starks, and Jerome Williams, just to name a few, were in attendance and entertainment was provided by youth dance groups. The students enjoyed watching the practice and were able to identify screens and plays they have learned from their own basketball coaches.
Payin’ The Price Event – As February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, UWANTGAME, along with Youth Leaders of Emmanuel, The Alice Mann Center, the Bedford YMCA, hosted a screening of the award-winning film Payin’ The Price – a story about teen dating violence. The film was directed by 16-year-old New Jersey native Jordan Coleman, who was inspired to develop the movie following the 2009 Chris Brown/Rihanna incident. This event brought dating violence to light like never before, and after learning that 1 in 3 teens have been victimized or knew somebody who has, Coleman was determined to raise awareness about this serious, yet rarely discussed, issue. UWANTGAME thought it was an important issue, too, and was pleased to help spread its powerful message. The screening, held at Long Island University-Brooklyn, was the first for UWG.
UNCF Empower Me Tour
October 22, 2011
The UNCF Empower Me Tour (EMT) platform was created to empower a movement among young people, motivating them towards academic excellence, personal responsibility and fiscal health through relevant program content and celebrity engagement. UWANTGAME student-athletes participated in the NYC tour stop, where they attended various workshops that focused on topics such as personal branding, essay writing, financial responsibility and healthy cooking.
Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play
September 24, 2011
As part of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play, a select group of our student-athletes traveled to Washington DC to participate in Nickelodeon’s annual event that encourages kids to exercise and play. UWANTGAME spent the day running the basketball station where a number of NBA All-Stars including LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, stopped by to take part in the fun. Our students, who blogged about their experiences, were featured on Nickelodeon’s blog.
September 18, 2011
UWANTGAME kicked off the year with a mentor training session led by Kym Ward Gaffney, US Coaching Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Gaffney focused on techniques for building the mentor-mentee relationship, including how to create a climate of trust and the importance of credibility, reliability, intimacy and self-orientation.