Program Empowers Through Basketball, at Home and Abroad

On Saturday, Shooting Touch will bring the sport to children in Rwanda.

Shooting Touch

A past Shooting Touch trip to Rwanda. Photo by Chris Cardoza/Doza Visuals

Basketball has always been a guiding presence in Chloe Rothman’s life. And beginning Saturday, the sport she loves will guide her halfway across the world.

For the next 11 months, Rothman, who played four years of varsity basketball at Merrimack College and a year of professional basketball in Israel, will use the game to bring health education and life skills to children in Rwanda. She’s making the journey through Shooting Touch, a local nonprofit that uses the sport to mobilize youth in Boston and abroad.

“If you’re part of a basketball team or have basketball in your life, you learn skills like communication, confidence, how to be amongst people, how to work with people,” Rothman says. “Not only is it giving people those skills, but it’s going to help these kids with living healthier lifestyles.”

In addition to the intangible skills taught through basketball, the Shooting Touch Basketball Health Corps provides the Rwandan youth it serves with basic health education and—crucially—healthcare coverage. Now in its sixth year, the program serves about 800 children in eight rural areas of the country.

“Not only are we giving them this health education,” Rothman says, “but we’re also helping them with life.”

Here in Boston, Shooting Touch has a similar mission. It provides sport-based development opportunities to inner-city and suburban youth, and helps kids move toward healthy futures. In 2015, Shooting Touch also launched its Getting Girls in the Game program, which helps empower girls and promote equality through athletics.

Those missions, Rothman says, are reason enough to uproot her life for nearly a year.

“This is just how I see myself,” she says. “What are we put on this earth to do, if not helping other people?”

You can donate to Shooting Touch here.