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Timken Basketball Players Model Healthy Attitudes, Behaviors at Peace Camp

Aug 08, 2014

Timken Basketball Players Model Healthy Attitudes, Behaviors at Peace Camp

Posted by Cindy Hickey on Fri, Aug 8, 2014 - 9:43 AM in Community Outreach

         

Community Services of Stark County and members of Timken High School boys basketball team recently piloted a new collaboration on behalf of children from southeast and northeast Canton.

For the first time, team members served as counselors and physical activity directors at Camp Akwaba, a summer program established nearly two decades ago by Mercy Mission Outreach to teach peacemaking skills to kids at Skyline Terrace housing complex. Community Services' program manager Shawnta Forester, M.A.Ed., now coordinates the camp, of which Mercy is a sponsor.

According to Shawnta, this collaboration with the team was a huge success. She says, "These African-American student-athletes stepped up to serve their community by modeling healthy attitudes and behaviors for children who, in many cases, don't have a positive male role model in their lives."

Prior to working with the children at the peace camp, Shawnta met with the teens and provided training and insights into working with underserved youth.

Timken High School basketball player with Canton Ohio peace camp participants in 2014
Timken High School basketball player and camp counselor Jose Langoria with his peace camp students

"The children at the peace camp could not only look up to these young men, but also could envision themselves as student-athletes," she says. "The players' achievements have required work and effort, and kids were encouraged to see how they, too, were capable of attaining the same thing."

Rick Hairston, head coach of the Timken High School boys basketball team and a health and physical education instructor, believes the boys were a great representation of the kind of students who attend Timken.

"As a coach, I've tried to help them understand the importance of community service in a number of ways," he says. "Most of the kids we work with at Timken High School are great, and the young men who worked at the peace camp do a really good job on the team and in the classroom. I'm proud of their efforts."

When Mercy Mission Outreach established its annual summer peace camp in 1995, its goal was to help area youth learn to handle conflicts in a productive way. Over the years, many former campers have become counselors themselves.

Sister Carolyn Capuano, HM, vice president of mission and ministry at Mercy, had the opportunity to observe the camp counselors and students in action.

She says, "I was impressed by the order and calmness of the camp's atmosphere. Everyone did a great job with this program, and it's an honor to see the continuing legacy of a ministry that started with Mercy Mission Outreach."

2014 peace camp with Timken High School basketball players in Canton Ohio
Timken High School basketball players and counselors (left to right) include Isaiah Williams, Damir Jackson, Khai McClesky, Andre Foutner, Marcus Fite II, and Kae’Ron Berkley. Center: camp director Shawnta Forester. Not pictured: Jose Langoria.
 
 
Read more about Camp Akwaba

About Cindy Hickey

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Cindy Hickey, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing at Mercy Medical Center, began working at Mercy Medical Center in 1982 after completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University. She serves on the advisory board of About magazine and is a graduate of the 21st Class of Leadership Stark County.

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