This past summer, Zaniya Lewis, a student athlete who plays for our very own SJ Domination, was able to visit South Africa on a community service trip with the NBA and NBPA. She talked to us a bit about the trip and community service in general. Here's what she told us:
"You're never too young to make a difference in the world." This is the quote I live by everyday because I believe young people can make a positive impact on the world.This summer, I won a national contest called,"More Than A Game." I was one of three student-athletes chosen in the nation to join the National Basketball Player’s Association and NBA on an amazing community service trip to South Africa.To qualify for this amazing trip you had to make an impact on and off the basketball court .I am the captain of my varsity high school team and I scored 1000 point by the end of my junior year.However, I am most proud of the other accomplishments off the court.I am the NJ National Guard Teen Panel president.As a member of the panel I help organize programs, camps, and trips for our military kids.I am also a member of the Ronald McDonald House Teen Advisory Council we raise awareness and fund-raise for the house.While community service is a passion of mine, I never thought in a million years I would win an opportunity to fulfill my dreams of visiting South Africa,helping children in another country,and meeting my favorite NBA players. On the trip with the NBA players, I volunteered at the Basketball Without Borders Camp.I coached other teens and taught them the importance of teamwork and dedication.Many of the teens did not speak English, so I had to find a way to communicate with them.The adjustment of teaching the teens did not come easily, but I learned quickly under the guidance of the NBA players.I visited the Boys and Girls Club of South Africa where I had the opportunity witness the philanthropic efforts of the NBA and NBPA. There,I attended the ribbon cutting of a brand new facility and basketball court,which donated by the NBA and NBPA.I had the opportunity to dance and have fun with the children who attends the club. Lastly, I visited to the SOS Children’s Village, which is an orphanage that house over 100 children. When we arrived at the village, the sound of screaming kids echoed the streets.The children were extremely excited that NBA players were visiting with them.As I walked into the village, the children grabbed my hand and jump on me with excitement. This was very emotional for me because I would have never thought my presence would have put a smile on so many faces.I was able to talk to some of the children at the SOS Village.I spoke with them about their dreams.All of the kids had goals and dreams just like me. They wanted to be doctors, teachers, nurses, and more. I told them that they can accomplish their goals.I encouraged them to stay focused and to support each other.I wanted to make sure I left the children there with a valuable message.I told them my story and how I was chosen to come to South Africa.I really wanted them to learn from my experience and to truly believe that their dreams can come true.As I look back on my trip to South Africa I learned so many valuable lessons. I learned that the children of South Africa have the same dreams as American kids. I learned that if you have a dream, you can really accomplish it by working hard at it each and every day.The trip to South Africa merged my love for basketball and community service to make memories of a lifetime.As a result of this experience, I will use my voice to encourage and inspire other children."
Currently attending Doane Academy High School