The `Donate Your Jersey' Program begins this week at the Darien YMCA. As part of the program, participants in the YMCA Winter basketball program will have the opportunity at the end of the current season to donate their jersey to a fellow basketball player in Haiti.

The program was started by Haitian-born 19-year Darien resident Henri Heyne as part of his efforts to help fellow Haitians in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Heyne founded the non-profit Haitian Relief Organization one of the goals of which is to bring organized sports to Haiti's youth.

"As everyone knows, Haiti was devastated by the recent earthquake and thankfully there are many organizations reaching out and helping with the immediate needs of food, shelter, and clothing," said Heyne, Founder of the Haitian Relief Organization.

"Our efforts are focused a little further down the road. My 17 years of coaching in Darien has made me realize the importance of sports in every child's development. Our goal is bring an organized youth basketball program to Port-au-Prince to allow those kids to enjoy the benefits of organized sports. I would like the `Donate Your Jersey' program to build a connection between the kids of Haiti and our kids who have donated their jerseys."

As part of the `Donate Your Jersey' program, at the conclusion of the season, participants in the Darien YMCA Winter Basketball program are encouraged drop off their washed jerseys at the YMCA front desk and to sign the drop off sheet so they can be kept updated on the travels of their jersey, including receiving a photo of it on its new owner!

About the Haitian Relief Organization:

The Haitian Relief Organization was founded in 2004 in response to the massive flooding in Gonaïves. Its current mission is simple: facilitate the recovery effort in Haiti while focusing on specific projects to improve the quality of life for the people of Haiti.