Bridge Ministry, Ragin’ Cajun basketball team up for HLC mini-clinic
Coach Michael Murphy, director of basketball operations for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s men’s team, smiled at the kids from Bridge Ministry of Acadiana and asked a question.
“How many of you have heard of Elfrid Payton?” he said, referring to the former ULL point guard and 10th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft.
Almost immediately, hands shot up across the newly-minted basketball court at Bridge Ministry’s community center.
“Elfrid didn’t grow up wanting to play for the NBA. He just wanted to be the best student he could, the best son he could and the best person he could. And he wanted to do the best he could at whatever he did.”
The kids nodded. They got it.
“What do you want to be...” Coach Murphy said, pointing at a student. “You?”
Answers jumped from the crowd.
“Singer.” “A dancer.” “Sports star.” “A policeman.” “A veterinarian.”
“Famous!” one boy said.
Coach Murphy smiled again. “You can do anything you want, any of you, as long as you give it your all ...100 percent.”
It was quite an experience for the students at Bridge Ministry, and without the work of Bridge staff, volunteers and community partners, this late June youth basketball tutorial would not be possible.
The idea for a basketball court at Bridge surfaced when Bridge was planning their new facility at 512 N. University Avenue. In 2012, the staff and volunteers heard about the Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana grant program from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. Bridge joined nearly two dozen other organizations - including the University of Lafayette at Louisiana - in the grant, which became the Healthy Living Club.
The Healthy Living Club grant, along with a grant from the Stuller Family Foundation, paid for the new basketball court. And thanks to the HLC partnership, Bridge’s elementary class students had the chance to pick up some tips from Coach Murphy, a 25-year veteran at the collegiate coaching level.
Murphy emphasized the importance of school and good grades, as well as hard work, and of course the kids enjoyed the basketball drills on the new court.
“It was fun,” Bridge student Sanae Matthews said. ”I liked it because we got to exercise"
Bridge expects to use the basketball court for years to come, and hopes that the partnerships and friendships formed under the Healthy Living Club last just as long.
“We really appreciate Coach Murphy taking the time to come out and join us,” Jennifer Reynaud, executive director at Bridge, said. “It means a lot to the kids and they learned so much from it.”
Bridge Ministry of Acadiana and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are partners in the Healthy Living Club, a first-of-its-kind concept in Lafayette. The goal of the Healthy Living Club is to encourage families in the Lafayette area to make healthy living choices, including better eating choices and adopting an active lifestyle through exercise and mental stimulation. To learn more about HLC’s partners and programs, visit http://thehealthylivingclub.org .
About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is building a healthier Louisiana through community outreach and charitable giving. In addition to the Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana, the Foundation has two signature programs: The Angel Award®, an annual recognition of outstanding Louisiana volunteers who improve the quality of life for at risk children, and Smart Bodies®, a school-based program to prevent childhood obesity. Blue Cross also contributes nearly $2 million annually to various nonprofit organizations throughout the state that contribute to health, education and the overall quality of life in Louisiana communities. The Foundation is funded solely through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
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