May 18, 2024
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SAR HS Senior Empowers Senegalese Youth Through Basketball

After an intense junior year at SAR HS, Joseph Arenson decided to do something meaningful with his summer break and traveled to Senegal to work for a not-for-profit basketball organization called Malawrise. The organization, which was created to improve the life of Senegalese youth through basketball, held clinics in the capital city, Dakar, and three smaller towns.

“My role was to serve as a media and communications intern and logistics assistant,” said Arenson. “As a media intern I filmed, edited and created social media materials to promote the camp. As a logistics assistant, I helped set-up camp and tournament infrastructure.”

He explained that in Senegal, basketball is nowhere nearly as organized as it is in America or other developed countries, and there are no camps or organized tournaments. “One of the goals of the organization,” he said, “is to help Senegal create the basketball infrastructure necessary so that players can improve their skills and have the opportunity to compete in local tournaments and stay motivated to continue playing.”

“We had over 300 players, both boys and girls,” he continued. “In addition to teaching basketball skills, the clinics emphasized personal development and offered regular motivational talks. This experience gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with teens from a totally different culture in another part of the world. I was proud to be the first Jewish person that the players had ever met, I even got to teach them how to say shalom and they taught me some French. By the end of the trip, I had made many new friends and I learned how sports can be a wonderful bridge between different cultures.”

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