'Donate Your Jersey' program kicks off at Darien YMCA
In the wake of the tragedy in Haiti, there have been many kinds of charity programs that have come out of the woodwork.
But there might not be any quite like what one Henri Heyne has come up with. Heyne's idea has taken off, and the `Donate Your Jersey' program has already begun this week at the Darien YMCA.
YMCA winter basketball program members and participants will have the opportunity at the end of the current season to donate their jersey to a fellow basketball player in Haiti.
It's something small, but it could add up to one big action. The program was the brainchild of Heyne, the Haitian-born, 19-year Darien resident. As soon as news about the earthquake hit, he began to think about ideas and what kind of effort he could put in to help fellow Haitians in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Heyne founded the non-profit Haitian Relief Organization six years ago, and one of the goals of it 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," Heyne said.
While efforts to aid those in need are urgent now, Heyne made it clear that he's concerned with two, three, five years in the future.
"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."
The way to donate is simple, because, 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.