Kristi Toliver has a pretty impressive resume. She’s a two-time WNBA All-Star, a world champion and one of the best three-point shooters in the league. And, she’s recently made an historic jump to the coaching side for the Washington Wizards, becoming the first active WNBA player to be an assistant coach in the NBA. In fact, she’s only the 4th woman to coach in the NBA.
The hire last fall may have shocked some, but if you spend any time around Toliver, it’s easy to see that she has a vast amount of knowledge and wisdom about the game of basketball.
But, her knowledge is only one of the impressive things about Toliver. Her dedication and hard work are an inspiration … something several of our Boys & Girls Club members got to witness first hand during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte last week.
Toliver joined NBA Legend Dominique Wilkins and former WNBA star Jennifer Azzi for a panel discussion for Her Time To Play. Her Time To Play is a national grassroots initiative created by the WNBA and NBA to inspire the next generation of girls, ages 7-14, to play basketball in a positive and healthy way.
The event was put on by The Female Quotient, whose mission is to advance gender equality in the workplace. There’s hardly a more poignant voice in that conversation than Toliver.
Through sports, girls learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and self-confidence. But, according to Her Time to Play, twice as many girls compared to boys drop out of sports by the age of 14, which can be attributed to societal barriers that are primarily faced by girls. To combat these issues, it’s important for young girls to have female mentors in sports – and in life.
At the event, the panelists encouraged young girls to have confidence, stay motivated and never give up on their dreams. These are topics discussed daily at the Boys & Girls Clubs, as we strive to create community leaders.
“It is with great pleasure to partner with the WNBA, Her Time To Play imitative,” said Tommy Walls, director of operations for The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte. “This program is essential to our young ladies because it demonstrates the value of faith, commitment, leadership and wellness—all of which the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greater Charlotte believes are transferable skills to be successful at home, school, the Club and our community at-large.”
Thank you to the Female Quotient, the WBNA and NBA and especially to the panelists like Kristi Toliver, who took time out of their schedule to make a profound impact on our members.