NY Knicks Amar'e Stoudemire Travels to Israel and Promotes Hebrew University's Youth Periphery Program 'Science Through Sports'
Jerusalem, July 21, 2013 — Amar'e Stoudemire, the six-time NBA All-Star and basketball player with the New York Knicks, is in Israel to coach the Canadian basketball team at the Maccabiah Games. Today he visited the municipalities of Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Ekron, where he met with children studying science through a project to promote education "in the periphery," meaning outside of Israel's main cities.
Operated by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Joseph Meyerhoff Youth Center for Advanced Studies, the program uses sports as a vehicle to promote science and education to youngsters from third through twelfth grades, through the support of the Hebrew University and the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University.
Arriving at the basketball center of Kiryat Malachi, about 20 km. south of Ashkelon, Stoudemire shot some hoops, offered words of inspiration and took part in a class where children learned how science education advances research and reasoning. After posing for individual photographs with Stoudemire, the children presented him with a small book of Psalms. Stoudemire, who founded and supports educational projects in the US, appeared to have a hard time leaving the basketball court and the children, many of whom come from difficult socioeconomic backgrounds.
Earlier Stoudemire visited the Hebrew University's Authority for Community and Youth on the Edmond J. Safra campus. The Authority shares the wealth of knowledge and thought at the Hebrew University with the public at large, both adults and youth, through centers that focus on specific segments of the population. The visit was initiated by the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University to continue collaboration on promoting science education among children, a cause that's close to Stoudemire's heart.
During the visit, Shai Melcer, Director of the Joseph Meyerhoff Youth Center for Advanced Studies, showed Stoudemire various special educational programs for children, including courses that combine science with the game of basketball. "The goal is to get children to study science," says Melcer. "We know that a scientific lecture or dry science course does not appeal to children. Our idea is to attract them to the subject through the game of basketball and other games they know. We show them the connection between the game and subjects like physics, nutrition, chemistry and science, and in this way build up their familiarity with science.