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B-ball team plans Irish culture swap

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Truman called on the community to fulfill the wishes of the girls’ basketball team, giving them the opportunity to open the doors to a rare and exciting cultural experience.

Last season Truman had the privilege of playing host to the St Mary’s College girls’ basketball teams, coming all the way from Naas, Ireland. Joe Clancey, St. Mary’s coach, came over after remaining in contact with his former protégé John Burke, who now coaches Truman.

During their trip to the Bronx, the girls from Ireland had the opportunity to play several games, enjoy a joint dinner with all members of both teams, and sightsee around the city.

Now, the Truman team hopes to raise enough money to accept the invitation to play at Naas. The Truman girls will be offered to stay at the homes of the Irish players, giving them a firsthand looking to a different culture and lifestyle.

The trip will feature several games and a variety of sight seeing planned by Burke.

“Everything I want them to do has something with history and culture, it’s important to see how people live in a different part of the world.”

The plans include a trip to Glen Dalough, The National Irish Stud in his hometown where all the thoroughbreds from around the world are raised, and a visit to the city of Dublin. Burke also plans on renting out a dance hall, allowing the girls some teenage time, since they discovered that despite the vast distance between them, they all enjoy the same music.

All together an estimated $ 15,000 will be needed for the girls to accomplish their goal.

“Lets stop the talking and begin to support our kids and show them there is something else out there, that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it,” expresses Eldra Gillman, mother of captain Samantha Gillman.

The team and many persons connected to the team are taking creative initiatives to earning money. The girls have arranged to go around selling juice and snacks throughout Bronx neighborhoods, in school, and locations of transportation such as on the trains. They began the first week of school and will continue until March.

Eldra Gillman hopes to call on her community to help raise the money, organizing local events at the Union Congregational Church, including a bake sale by the team. Eldra Gillman was also able to secure a week vacation in the Pocono’s, donated by her brother Wilbert Gillman, as a raffle prize.

It is very important for the girls to take this trip according to Eldra Gillman. “It shows change and that we can work together, that we can be different. There was a great camaraderie and they realized sports goes beyond color, this generation is more adept at getting together with people.”

Gillman also seeks to gain permission from co-op city to organize a ‘change for change’ fundraiser. This would allow the girl to place jars in building lobbies to collect change from community members.

“They are a very determined bunch and I am very proud of them,” states Burke.

For more information on the Truman team or to make a donation contact coach Burke at 917-783-6778 or jburke5@nyc.schools.gov.

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