Globetrotters tout anti-bullying

A member of the Harlem Globetrotters practiced shooting hoops and dribbling down the court with Special Olympics basketball players in Penticton Thursday.

Dizzy Grant , a point guard on the team, was in town as an advanced ambassador prior to the team coming to the South Okanagan Events Centre on Feb 12.

"I got into town last night from Vancouver, basically to serve as a reminder the Globetrotters will be here,” he said. “And times like this, surrounded by young people enjoying themselves,  makes me feel proud to be an ambassador of goodwill.”

Much of his day, Thursday, was spent visiting schoolchildren to debut a new Globetrotters’ community outreach program, The ABCs of Bullying Prevention.

The team designed the program in coordination with the National Campaign to Stop Violence.  It targets children 6 to 14 years old and involves  players discussing the three key words in the ABCs, action, bravery and compassion, and tools that kids can use on a daily basis to stop bullying.

There is also student participation and the teams signature ball handling  moves during the presentation.

Grant’s visit included stops at KVR Middle School and Kaleden Elementary School and the walking track at SOEC.

“I told the kids that if they ever feel like they are being picked on do something as simple as tell an  adult and I gave them some real life scenarios I dealt with at their age,” he said. “Basically the whole thing we strive for is to be a good classmate and teammate and to show them the best way to show bravery is to walk away from a situation.”

At the community centre gym, he played a lot of one and ran up and down the court with eager players from the Special Olympics Basketball Team.

The young adults who were given the opportunity to practice with Grant,  said the  experience was awesome and amazing.

Coach Marlene Keen said it was a totally exciting and inspirational time for the players from all walks of life and ability levels.

“He is just interacting with them which is so cool. Something like this doesn’t happen every day,” she said.

The Globetrotters appearance at the SOEC at 7 p.m., Feb. 12 is part of their 2013 “You Write the Rules” World Tour.

During the tour they are also expected to bring their bullying prevention program to more than 300 schools and youth centres.

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