Men's Hoops Launches LMU Cares

Feb. 2, 2009

Los Angeles, CA - The Loyola Marymount men's basketball team has launched its community outreach program, LMU Cares, and has linked with Project Knapsack Inc., a non-profit organization that partners students in the United States with their peers in developing countries in an international pen pal exchange. Students on the African side of the exchange will each receive their very own backpacks filled with school supplies and other essential learning tools.

LMU's participation is designed to foster cross-cultural communication between Lennox Middle School and Daniel Freeman Elementary students and their new friends at the Molalatandi Primary School in Soweto, South Africa. Both schools will be assisted by the players of the LMU men's basketball team and will benefit tremendously from the letter-writing component. The elementary and secondary students on both continents are encouraged to write about their families, hobbies, school and what life is like living in a big city.

"The letter writing piece is key," says Porcha Dodson, Founder and President of Project Knapsack Inc. "American school children really need to realize the hardships that students in developing nations face in efforts to obtain a mediocre education."

In October, students from the Lennox Middle School journalism club visited LMU and were welcomed by the men's basketball team along with recently appointed, Associate Head Coach, Myke Scholl.

Scholl, who lived in Africa for several years, spoke to the children about the importance of doing well in school and volunteering in their community. "I felt that it was necessary for me to emphasize the value of earning a good education for themselves and for being participants in wonderful programs, such as Project Knapsack," said Scholl.

While at LMU, the students participated in a two part writing assignment where they first interviewed players from the team, then went on to write the first round of letters to their pen pals in Zambia and South Africa. This month, members from the Lions will travel to Lennox and Daniel Freeman where they will deliver the letters from students in Africa and assist with writing the return responses.

 

 

In March, Project Knapsack will travel to South Africa and personally deliver the second round of letters from students at Lennox and Daniel Freeman. In celebration of the new partnership, LMU Cares has donated over 1,000 pocket dictionaries, calculators, maps/globes, and brand new encyclopedias to students at Molalatandi.

Last year, the program launched in Zambia and El Salvador and gained major support from The Rock Foundation, actor Dwayne Johnson's charity for children. "Our local Staples store has donated thousands of dollars worth of school supplies to the program since it start last year," added Dodson.

"I appreciate and admire the hard work and dedication that Myke Scholl and the LMU Men's Basketball Team have put forth in efforts to educate students in the community and around the globe," emphasizes Dodson. For more information about Project Knapsack visit www.projectknapsack.org and for more information about The Rock Foundation visit www.djrockfoundation.org.

- GO LIONS -

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