Two weeks ago, Haitian-American basketball player Nerlens Noel traveled to Haiti to volunteered in a youth camp run by POWERForward International. The camp helps underprivileged children achieve excellence in education and athletics. Although Noel haven’t played his first NBA game yet, the 76ers’ rookie is a proud source for the Haitian community and a lot of young Haitian boys look up to him.
According to Philly.com
Haiti – It was the late morning of Sept. 27, and three bulletproof sport utility vehicles pulled into Gymnasium Vincent’s gated parking lot. Nerlens Noel, the 76ers’ rookie power forward, unfolded his 6-foot-11, 217-pound frame out of one of the vehicles and into the path of several awaiting fans.
“Hey, Nerlens, welcome to Haiti,” said Ezekiel D. Petion, one of the first to greet Noel and his contingent. “This is my son. He’s going to be a future NBA player.”
Noel smiled, shook the little boy’s hand, and responded: “Yeah, I can see it in him.”At that moment, several children standing on the court outside the gym began faint chants of “Nerlens, Nerlens, Nerlens.”
The greetings the 20-year-old received were far from shocking. Noel, who has yet to play in his first NBA game, is much more than a source of pride to Haitians. He helps bring hope to a nation that has little.
The former Kentucky standout represents promise for people who are promised nothing but poverty, illness, and killer storms. He is a vision of what success might look like, because there is little here that looks like success. He is living a dream in a place haunted by nightmares. More than anything else, he is one of them.
His mother, Dorcina Noel, grew up in the Haitian coastal city of Gonaïves.
After frequent visits to America, Dorcina and her now estranged husband, Yonel, moved to the Boston area 24 years ago in search of a good place to raise a family. Dorcina has made several trips back to her homeland to visit family. But this trip was different. She accompanied the third of her four children in his first trip to the Caribbean country in 17 years.
Noel volunteered to come here to participate in a youth camp run by POWERForward International, which helps the underprivileged achieve excellence in education and athletics.He also met a representative from the U.S. embassy in Haiti and two from the Federation of Haitian Basketball.
Noel developed a bond with Jonathan Alexandre, a promising, 6-6 eighth-grade combo guard. Impressed with the youngster’s game and attitude, Noel pledged to pay for Alexandre to come to America for a high school education, through POWERForward.
“I like that kid,” Noel said.
“It’s always good to help a young Haitian.”He also said he would represent Haiti in future Olympics, if the country gets a national team. Haiti is striving to field a team in time for the 2020 Olympics. – Continue Reading Here