Monday, December 7, 2009

Let the Countdown Begin!!

Hi everyone did you guys miss me?

I know it has been two weeks too long! My time in Turkey is getting short as Christmas break arrives in two weeks. I am sssooo excited to get home to see my family and loved ones. These past two weeks have been a little bit of a struggle for me. I’ve been fighting off not only a cold, but homesickness as well. My parents have been my biggest supporters throughout my entire life. I’m used to seeing them at least once a month. Overseas prevents that from happening and its taken a little bit of a toll on me. I continue to take it day by day and thank the Lord for blessing me with the opportunities that He has given me. ARMY brats are use to being thrown into a fire and adapting, because they persevere through tough situations. My parents got deployed back to back on a consistent basis in my adolescent and teenage years. Being put in these positions made me have a strong backbone. I had no choice. I tell myself everyday that it could be a lot worse.

On a another note our overall record is 4-3. We lost to Instanbul University and won this past weekend over Kocaeli. We definitely still have room to grow overall as a team; we just have to make it happen. We have a huge game this weekend against Fenerbahce, the number one team in the league. Hopefully our coach prepares us well.

I will end this blog with words from Mr. Rev Run: “Its not what the situation is, it’s what we make of the situation.”

Until next time… help me countdown my days until I land in America! 14 and counting...


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Slam Magazine: Dedicated to Their Profession

Dedicated to Their Profession
Even the champs have little time to enjoy their success.

by Ben York

The 2009 WNBA year was irrefutably one of the greatest seasons in the WNBA’s short history. With the amount of talent, athleticism, and supreme competition that was featured on a daily basis the league gained a form of admiration and reverence that was long overdue. But perhaps more importantly, it led to an increase in overall awareness regarding the extraordinary lives these athletes lead and a perfect example of what true hard work and devotion is; something these remarkable ladies don’t get an adequate amount of praise for.

The year was capped off with what is being called the best WNBA Finals series ever between the Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever. Storming out of the gates with one of the finest individual games you’ll ever see, Game 1 of the Finals created a buzz and excitement about women’s basketball that was unprecedented. Fortunately, this continued throughout the rest of the series with the Phoenix Mercury coming out on top in Game 5. With record-setting TV ratings and in-game attendance, the 2009 WNBA Finals provided a platform to showcase an amazing product that is still not being fully appreciated.

“This season was so amazing that I couldn’t even began to put it in words because I’m afraid I would leave out an important part,” Mercury center Tangela Smith said. “Every time I think back to that last second with the buzzer going off, all the confetti, and the song ‘We Are the Champions’ blasting in U.S. Airways Center it bring chills down my spine.” It truly was a magical scene; the players finally feeling fulfilled after a long, arduous season, the release of emotions, and the realization of attaining the pinnacle of sports achievements.

“This year my theme has been ‘expect the unexpected’ and so far it has been that,” Mercury guard Temeka Johnson said. “I couldn’t have painted this picture any better, and to win it all with the group of women I was among topped everything. This championship season was something very special.”

The emotions that Tangela and Temeka speak of are very real, and very humbling. It truly does become difficult to articulate that euphoric moment. For a brief second in time, the Mercury could celebrate and bask in the glory of coming out on top of what has been called the greatest WNBA Finals series of all-time.

Unfortunately, the window of time to reflect and enjoy that success for the Phoenix Mercury was far too small.

For players in the WNBA, the salaries they receive during the season aren’t quite enough to sustain themselves and their families throughout the year. Surprised? Some players make less than an elementary school teacher. With a collective salary cap hovering around $800,000 total per team, the 11 women are forced to look for financial opportunities elsewhere. During the past few decades, the most popular alternative has been heading overseas to play professionally during the WNBA off-season. And while this has been a blessing for these ladies and provided a viable means of supplementing their income in order to adequately provide for their families, there is an enormous toll it takes on the body both physically and mentally.

“I really don’t think many people understand what these ladies go through,” said Mercury head coach Corey Gaines. “They play all year long. In Europe, they practice twice a day all year. They’ll wake up and head to their first practice in the morning, do some sprints and conditioning, then head home for a short break, and come back for a full practice in the afternoon. This is all year long! A lot of them head overseas just hours or a couple days after the WNBA season ends. I remember my first year coaching the Mercury in 2007 we got Diana [Taurasi] and Cappie [Pondexter] back the day before our first game – and it’s not like they are just coming back from New York or something, they’re coming all the way from Russia. On top of that, we played our first game on national television and it was the debut of Candace Parker. But you know what? To Cappie and Diana’s credit they came out and played their butts off, they came out balling. Plus, Diana was sick and not feeling well. Truthfully, I don’t know many men that could handle it.”

Gaines has been around all facets of the game since high school. He played at UCLA and Loyola Marymount in college, had a stint in the NBA for several years, and played professionally in Europe for a long while. Gaines says the amount of time that these women put in is unbelievable, and makes for a challenge in terms of coaching. “It’s a fine line,” Gaines said when asked how much basketball is too much. “If you add the European season onto the WNBA season it’s an incredible amount of basketball. Sometimes the Olympics or World Championships are even in there. It’s tough. You want your players to play during the off-season but you also want them to have a break. It might not necessarily be a break from basketball all together but you want some of their stresses to subside after a long season, whether it’s in the WNBA or in Europe. But at the same time I understand the financial part of it and the financial need. Plus, most of our [Mercury] players are playing in the Championships overseas so it adds that much more basketball. Like I said, it’s a fine line and the amazing part to me is that they do this for years at a time. I really don’t know a lot of men that would be able to handle it.”

Even more remarkable, is that their courageous sacrifices aren’t being talked about. WNBA players simply accept this as part of their lives and don’t make a big deal out of it. The vast majority of players have a humbleness inside them and feel extremely fortunate even to have the opportunity to play overseas. Not only does it speak to the incomparable work ethic of these ladies, but also to their immense love of the sport.

“To be honest, when you still have that burning desire for the game and the love for it is still strong in you, there is no such thing as too much basketball,” Temeka Johnson said. “You are thrilled to be able to what you love to do, continue to entertain those that love to watch you play, and the passion and desire of getting better drives you even more.”

For some players, the amount of basketball played year round is not even something they think about. It’s almost second nature. Their love trumps any and all of the negatives that playing so much can have on your mind and body. “For me, I’m in love with basketball,” Mercury All-Star Cappie Pondexter said. “It can never be too much for me. This is a sport I was born to do and so I cherish every moment I have with it.”

There is a true sense of appreciation and thankfulness that these women have received from playing basketball. “If you really love something I think there is never too much of it,” Mercury guard Ketia Swanier said. “So, until basketball breaks my heart, there is never too much of it.”

At the same time, balancing their love of basketball with their personal lives and families who are hundreds of miles away for half the year can become increasingly difficult, especially for veterans. Tangela Smith has played in the WNBA for 12 years and understands the impact it can have on one’s life more than most.

“This year I was able to take a one and a half month break, but most of my other teammates were not as fortunate,” Tangela said. “They had to go overseas right after we won the championship and that’s what I have done for 11 years out of my 12-year career. It’s very hard and it really takes a toll on your body but I love the game so much that it’s all very much worth it to me. You have to really take care of your body and stay as healthy as you can because that will definitely keep you in the league for a very long time. The traveling is difficult as well because not only are you traveling within the country you are playing but if your on a team that plays in some kind of Euro-league or Cup you would have to travel to other countries as well. Sometimes you are all alone and you are playing with a team full of women who don’t speak English and sometimes even the coach doesn’t. Nowadays it’s better because you can have more than one or two Americans on the same team and more English is spoken. But, like I said before it’s so worth it if you are very passionate about playing and the good definitely outweighs the bad.”

Being gone for several months makes the time you do have with family that much more meaningful. “It’s hard to head overseas when you only have ten days to divide over what loved ones you will visit and getting everything prepared to leave America,” Ketia Swanier said. “I always feel like there is never enough time to spend with my family but basketball is what I’m committed to do and love doing it.” It’s certainly not surprising that staying in touch with friends and family is next to impossible when spending multiple months of every year in a foreign country. Relationships can quickly fade and if there is a family emergency, a car ride or flight isn’t a viable option for the majority of the time. On the other hand, WNBA players and their families have accepted that it comes with the territory. “The hardest part about leaving is the amount of down time you have and you don’t get to enjoy family, friends, and being at home,” Cappie Pondexter said. “It’s the hardest thing to do but at the same time we have to because it’s our livelihood.”

From a coaching perspective, it also becomes tricky to maintain cohesion with your team while they are overseas. Unlike in the NBA where contact can come easily with a quick flight or phone call, many of a coach’s players are hundreds of miles away in various foreign countries. “I stay busy, that’s for sure,” Corey Gaines said. “It’s another fine line. The players need their privacy but at the same time you can’t go months without talking to your team or knowing what’s going on. That’s one of the reasons I make sure I visit as many players as I can when they are overseas. We stay in touch with texting and phones but seeing them face to face is better than a phone call. It also provides an opportunity to see other players up close in practices and games where you wouldn’t get that chance otherwise. So although it’s challenging it helps with the relationship when we can connect overseas as well.”

When the players do return to American to play in the WNBA season, a lot of people aren’t aware that they just finished a grueling European season maybe just a few hours before. They come back to America and are expected to head into another training camp and be mentally prepared for the increasingly competitive WNBA schedule. For WNBA coaches, the key philosophy is balance. “Doug Collins said that the game is now 80 percent percent managing and 20 percent Xs and Os and I believe that,” Gaines said. “Look at the greatest coaches in the game – Phil, Popovich – they manage their team the best. They know their players the best. With the way we (Mercury) play it’s tough because we want the team to be in running shape but you also realize you don’t want to burn them out. Paul Westhead and I never believed in running as a punishment so we like to get the players in shape while playing and going hard. Again, it’s a fine line.”

While the trials and tribulations that WNBA face can be exceedingly difficult, many are pointing to 2009 as a turning point for the league. The appreciation of what the players do all year and the sacrifices they make are beginning to be known. Is the WNBA finally hitting the mainstream? “I hope so,” Corey Gaines said. “It looks that way if you go by the numbers. More people watched on TV and more attended the games; it was sold out in the Finals. When we won in Detroit in 2007 that game actually wasn’t sold out. Hopefully the attention will carry over next year. I’m hoping it does.”

Regardless if it carries over or not, it’s about time these ladies get the recognition they deserve for the sacrifices they make and for their dedication to basketball. Quite simply, it’s unprecedented in professional sports – and should be honored.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hardwork & Preparation...

Hey everyone!

Last week we lost to Mersin and bounced back strong earning a win against Ceyhan this weekend.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”

During those six long practice days the team made adjustments to prepare for Ceyhan. Unlike past weeks, this particular week we took a day to review Ceyhan’s plays and how we would guard them. Preparation and hardwork are keys to success. Our preparation and hardwork payed off this week. Winning was the only thing on our minds. We came out the gates powerful and never looked back. We pushed the lead to 20 in the second quarter but Ceyhan would not fall. They made a great fight back cutting the lead to about 4. After halftime we continued to throw punches that connected and Ceyhan began to tumble. The final score was 84-62.

On a side note right before the third quarter began the power went out in the gym. The weather was nice outside, no rain or thunderstorms were the reason to cause the interruption. While the power was getting fixed both teams were shooting to stay warm. Eventually the power turned back on and the lights came back on. Each team went back to their benches thinking the second half will start. Nope, not at all. The power cut off again!! It took another ten minutes for everything to work properly for our game to continue. Only in Turkey!!

Today we are back at work to continue our win streak vs Instanbul University on Saturday. A twin of one of my teammates, Roneeka Hodges, plays for Instanbul University. I’m excited to see them go head to head. It will be fun to watch but even more fun to continue our win streak! Wish us luck! Hooah!!!

Until next week…..K4K

Monday, November 16, 2009

Long Week Ahead..

Hey Hey Hey!

Sorry to start you guys with bad news, but we lost this past weekend to Mersin. It was a tough game but unfortunately we couldn’t pull it out. We were down most of the first half - managing to make a run in the second quarter and tie the game up going into halftime. The second half Mersin was just too much for us and kept a double digit lead for pretty much the remainder of the game. We have a whole week until we can redeem ourselves on Sunday vs Ceyhan. That’s one of the disadvantages of playing one game a week. When you lose you’re ready to take anybody out to get back on that win streak. Instead of playing again soon, I’m on a six day wait list. On a good note practice, practice, practice makes better right?!

Sunday was an off day for the team so Chante and I decided to get away from Tarsus and hangout with Barbara and some of her teammates in Mersin (25 minute drive) after the game. Sunday we traveled to Adana (25 minute drive) to watch two teams in our league. I wish there was more time to get out and about, because it helps time move swiftly.

Since I started with bad news I’m going to end with great news. The Ketia4Kidz 2nd Annual Hometown Fundraiser on December 29th is getting closer and closer. Rap artist 3D will be making an appearance - shout out to FAM! Big things and a great future is all in store for the foundation so please stay tuned!

Until next week…..K4K

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day Mom & Dad!

Hey Mom & Dad!!

I just wanted to wish you both a very Happy Happy Veteran's Day!! You two are my heroes! I think there should be more than one day to honor you all. People don't understand what you all have gone through. You guys should feel like heroes; the way you've served your country and worked hard to protect people's loved ones. May God bless you all!

I wish there were more people with hearts and backbones as strong as you guys. Much love from Tarsus Turkey. See you in 6 weeks!! Take this day out for yourselves and do something special - you guys deserve it!



Monday, November 9, 2009

News From Turkey!

First, let me start by saying that the new K4K website has finally launched with a new look, upgraded features for people to know what’s happening in my life, and updates for upcoming K4K news and events. I hope you all love the new website as much as I do! Email me at for feedback……

Since winning the WNBA championship, I’ve been in Turkey. It’s been almost three weeks now, but I’m learning my way around. I play for a club out of Tarsus, Turkey with Americans Roneeka Hodges (Minnesota Lynx) and Chante Black (Connecticut Sun). The weather here is amazing. If I closed my eyes outside I almost thought I was back in Phoenix. ALMOST.  I live in a building with all of my teammates except for one. A dorm would be the best comparison of our living conditions except each room has their own bathrooms and living areas. In some ways it’s cool, because we all can hang out and learn more about each other.

As for the team, we are 2-1 recording our last win on Friday. After losing our first game, we’ve gotten things back on track with 2 good wins. It’s different from the WNBA, but I’m working hard to get better for next season. We have this weekend off and go back to work Monday afternoon. My roommate Chante and I have just been hanging out enjoying this time to ourselves. We play Mersin next Saturday against one of my former college and professional teammates, Barbara Turner. It will be the first time ever we will be enemies on the court. Stay tuned next week for the results and how life in Turkey is going…

You can keep up more with me on Facebook (Ketia Swanier) and Twitter (@MarieGAPeach11)!

Until next week… K4K

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Slam Magazine: Commemorating Altruism

Commemorating Altruism
For the WNBA, community is key.

by Ben York

Unarguably, the WNBA and its players set the quintessential standard in terms of professional athletes genuinely having a noble penchant to improve the lives of the less fortunate.

It’s not even debatable.

Now, before I get hate mail from devout fans of other professional leagues, let me state that I respect and admire those athletes who do make a profound effort and emphasis on giving back. But if we’re honest with ourselves, collectively it’s certainly not close to what could be done with the amount of money that floats around the “big 4” – NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL.

That’s why the WNBA gets the crown; they do more with less.

It’s no secret that WNBA players’ salaries are considerably less than other professional athletes; much less. The salary cap for WNBA teams in 2009 was $803,000. For comparisons sake, Kevin Garnett made about $300,000 a game for the Celtics in ’08-09 (about $25 million for the entire year). Thus, Garnett made more money in three games than the combined salaries of any WNBA team (11 players) for the entire 2009 season. This isn’t a knock on Garnett, not by any means (he does a lot in the community with his Foundation); it’s merely an illustration of the disparity in pay between the WNBA and NBA.

In spite of this, the vast majority of WNBA players continually make an unwavering priority to give back to the community; not because their absurd salaries forced them to or for tax benefits, but because they each have an indelible zeal for improving the world around them and because it’s the right thing to do.

If you’re thinking that I’m questioning the authenticity of some professional athletes in terms of their Foundations and personal focus on improving the community, well, you’d be correct. In fact, I very much question the genuineness of many athletes when they make an appearance at a Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters ,etc. and this comes from a first-hand perspective. I’ve worked for many years in both the non-profit world and the sports world and have been around a multitude of professional athletes and celebrities who unquestionably were forced to make an appearance somewhere or write a check with the sole purpose of enhancing their public image. And while, ultimately, the organizations still get funding and exposure, there simply is a different feeling and impact that is created when it comes from a sincere place. The fact remains, however, that we undoubtedly hear more about those events than any of the countless accomplishments in the community by WNBA athletes.

I, for one, think it’s about time we recognize, acknowledge, and honor what is being done in the community by WNBA players and the WNBA Cares program. WNBA Cares focuses on programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on promoting a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, breast health awareness, youth and family development, and education as well as team-sponsored community events. There are a countless number of players and team representatives that have volunteered their time and money for these special community events.

However, here are descriptions of several of the more notable non-profit organizations that have been developed by individual WNBA players. I encourage you to browse their Foundation’s website and get involved!

Kudos to the tireless efforts of these women.

Temeka Johnson, H.O.P.E. (Heaven Opens People’s Eyes)

Meek’s HOPE is active in the community in a number of ways and has made a key decision to help underprivileged children find hope and better their lives. She offers the Jewel Johnson Teacher Scholarship, in honor of her grandmother, to deserving students from Louisiana or attending Louisiana institutions. In addition, Meek’s HOPE has adopted schools to help with projects, mentoring, and fundraising. HOPE also sponsors area youth to receive personal hygiene makeovers for girls and boys, works with local schools and agencies to identify organizational needs, and hosts “A Very Meek Christmas” for local youth where HOPE and Temeka take them on a Christmas shopping spree.

Ketia Swanier – Ketia4Kidz

Ketia4Kidz provides support to the children of deployed and severely injured active duty military service members of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It also provides enrichment activities and tutoring to children while their parent(s) are away in service.

Tamika Catchings – Catch the Stars

Tamika’s mission is to motivate at-risk youth in the Indianapolis area to achieve their dreams and goals by providing positive academic and sports related programs. Largely centered on academics, the foundation also focuses on sportsmanship, healthier lifestyles, mentoring, and basketball/fitness clinics.

Swin Cash – Cash for Kids

Swin developed the Cash for Kids program to assist youth agencies and schools both inside and outside of the classroom in the areas of Arts & Culture, Youth Development, and Athletics.

Candice Wiggins – The Candice Wiggins Foundation Fund

The Candice Wiggins Foundation Fund honors the legacy of Alan Wiggins in its dedication to growing awareness, dialogue and funds to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Ruth Riley – NothingButNets

Ruth is a major player in this movement. Nothing But Nets is a grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Ruth has also been awarded the WNBA Community Assist Award for her dedication to community outreach initiatives related to youth health and wellness - particularly in her work for Nothing But Nets.

Betty Lennox – The Lennox Foundation 22

Betty Lennox’s Foundation centers around supporting kids in all communities that battle with the horrors of neglect and abuse. The money raised by The Lennox Foundation 22 will assist different shelters and homes to enrich their programs and educational needs for their communities.

Tamika Raymond – Thames River Family Programs, NothingButNets

Tamika worked with the Thames River Family Programs (TRFP), a transitional home for women and their children. In addition to her work with TRFP, Tamika was a regular participant and avid supporter of WNBA Cares events and causes, including Nothing But Nets and several visits to local schools, youth organizations, and fan events during the year.

Dawn Staley – Dawn Staley Foundation

The foundation’s mission is to create a future of hope for at-risk youth by providing opportunities that help them realize their dreams and become productive and responsible citizens. The creation and support of educational and sports programs which challenge minds, build character, and help youth to develop to their fullest potential academically, socially and physically are the essence of the foundation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Swanier Giving Back After Reaching Her Dream

By SHAWN SKILLMAN | Sports Anchor
Published: October 14, 2009

Columbus, GA - She is used to flying, she is used to being alone, and now she needs to get used to be called a champion. It took Ketia Swanier just two WNBA seasons, but she finally earned a championship after working for one her entier basketball life.

“After letting it sink in after a couple of days now, it makes you think about growing up playing AAU basketball and everyones dream is to win a championship,“ Swanier said. “Columbus High, making it to the finals and losing. Going to college having a rollercoaster ride out there (UConn) I got better each year, and made it to the Final Four my senior year, losing, even though we should have won. Going to the next level, then getting cut, picked up by Phoenix, I mean it has been amazing.“

Landing in Phoenix was a dream come true, they had thought about trading for her while she was with the Sun during her rookie year. She was drafted with the #12 overall pick in 2008 to Connecticut but was cut, and picked up by the Mercury. She won the Big East Sixth Man Of The Year award her senior season in college and is the only player in school history to rank among the top 10 career leaders in games played (142), assists (479) and steals (247).

She began setting the scoreboards on fire at Columbus High averaging 23.2 points, 8.5 steals, 6.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds as a junior while leading Columbus High to a 23-5 record. She was named the 2004 Georgia AAAA Player of the Year.
She knows the highs, and the lows, but stayed positive throughout. “It’s been a lot of adversity but being a military child you learn you have to adapt to different changes,“ Swanier said.

And that military background is the reason for her Ketia 4 Kids Foundation which gives support to children from military families. “I am trying to be an advocate for these kids and make everyone aware of the challenges for these children,“ Swanier said. “I was in a single parent home for seven years as my dad was deploying, coming back home, and then my mom deploying, it was tough. But I got through it because my parents were great, and I worked hard.“

Swanier is not staying in Columbus long, she is catching a flight to play basketball in Turkey. But she will be coming home, she and the rest of the Mercury, will visit President Obama at The White House.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

WNBA Champion!

On October 9, 2009, Ketia Swanier and the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Indiana Fever for the 2009 WNBA Championship. A proven winner, Ketia now adds WNBA champion to her impressive resume. The former Georgia AAAA Player of the Year and UCONN standout, played a key role throughout the season and playoffs, backing up Temeka Johnson at the PG position. Having started the season with the Connecticut Sun, Ms. Swanier quickly adapted to the new uptempo pace of the Phoenix Mercury providing quickness, defensive pressure and leadership for the Mercury.

This season was a dream-come-true for the 2nd year player out of UCONN. Players such as Temeka Johnson and Diana Taurasi spoke throughout the season about the spark that Ketia provided off of the bench. Ms. Swanier credited Temeka Johnson for making the transition easier in the new system and on a new team. The future is promising for the guard, as she will be asked to perform at an even higher level for the Mercury, while pressing the defense with her penetration and improved jump shot.

Ms. Swanier will be heading to Turkey shortly to continue her basketball season. Prior to her departure, she will make a few appearances on behalf of her foundation - Ketia4Kidz - starting with a school visit at Dexter Elementary School in Ft. Benning on October 14th. The foundation will also honor Ketia, by hosting a Championship Dinner at Olive Tree Restaurant on Sunday, October 18th. Ketia will be on-hand to meet with sponsors, donors, family and friends, as well as raise awareness and funding for the foundation.

For more information, please contact Ketia4Kidz at For media requests and interviews please contact Quency Phillips (

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Education Resource Center

# Admiral Mike Boorda Scholarship Program — Up to $2000 awarded each year to varied number of undergraduate students in Navy/Marine Corps active duty.
# Agron Seal Scholarship — $1000 awarded each year to 1 undergraduate student who is Active Navy SEAL, Spouse or dependent.
# Air Force ROTC College Scholarship — $9000 to $15000 awarded each year to 2000-4000 ROTC undergraduates.
# Air Space Education Foundation Spouse Scholarship — $1000 awarded each year to 30 undergraduate or graduate students who are spouses of active duty Air Force members.
# American Legacy Scholarship — $26000 awarded each year to undergraduate students who are children of active duty US military and Guard.
# Army ROTC Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program — $5000 to $16000 awarded each year to 180-250 ROTC freshmen and sophomore undergraduate students.
# Dolphin Scholarships — $3000 awarded each year to 25-30 undergraduate students who are US Navy submarine active or retired.
# Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty) Chapter 30 — $37224 awarded each year to varied number of undergraduate students who are veterans.
# Montgomery GI Bill (Selected Reserve) — Up to $10692 awarded each year to varied number of undergraduate students who are Reservists.
# Scholarships for Military Children — $1500 to 500 awarded each year to undergraduate students who are dependents of military personnel.

# Home Front America
# Military Family Scholarships
# Vice Admiral E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program
# Dependents of Deceased Service Members Scholarship Program
# USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) Scholarship Fund
# Dolphin Scholarship Foundation
# Anchor Scholarship Foundation
# National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Application Form
# Sarah Klenke Memorial Teaching Scholarship (14 kb .pdf) for graduating seniors interested in majoring in Education.
# Military Officers Association of America Scholarship 2005
# 2007-2008 MG James Ursano Scholarship Fund for Military Children
# The Student Guide 2004-2005 - a comprehensive resource on student financial aid covering the U.S. Department of Education’s major aid programs.
# U.S. Department of Education: Financial Aid - finding out about, and applying for, financial aid.
# The 82ND Airborne Division Association Washington, D.C. Chapter Scholarship
# National Eagle Scout Scholarships Scholarships are available to Eagle Scouts through the Cooke Scholarship Endowment, the Elks National Foundation, and the National Eagle Scout Scholarship Fund.”
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# VFW Wood Badge Scholarship Program VFW Wood Badge Scholarship Program Rationale The VFW has entered into a cooperative effort with the Boy Scouts of America to encourage posts to organize Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturing crews. To further this effort, the VFW national headquarters offers Wood Badge scholarships to assist selected chapter members in acquiring skills that will better equip them to serve the youth of their communities. Members at large and retirees can qualify by being sponsored by the nearest VFW post in.
# National Eagle Scout Scholarships Scholarships are available to Eagle Scouts through the Cooke Scholarship Endowment, the Elks National Foundation, and the National Eagle Scout Scholarship Fund.”.
# Scholarships Scholarships The following scholarships are available to Scouts: Lamar University College of Engineering Offers four-year scholarships (total value of $28,200) for Eagle Scouts majoring in Computer Science, Engineering, or Mathematics. For more information, contact Dr. Jim Thomas, Director of Recruiting And Cooperative Education, Lamar University. Phone: (409) 880-7870 or e-mail The Boy Scouts of America
# Federal Children’s Scholarship Handbook 2007 for children of federal employees and members of the military community.
# Federal Employee Education & Assistance (FEEA) Scholarship Program for dependents of civilian federal employees.
# Local European Scholarships & Contest Database on the Heidelberg Web Site

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Despite challenges, military brats should aim high in game of life

However challenging their lives might be, military brats should aim high, according to Ketia Swanier (pronounced swan-yea), who while growing up seldom had both of her parents at home. Ketia’s mother, Rosie, and her father, Cornell, both were Army First Sergeants. Ketia now plays for the Women’s National Basketball Association. She visited Fort Hood, Texas on Thursday and Friday with Keela Carr to speak with military brats at Smith Middle School and a meet and greet at the Clear Creek Main Exchange and Saturday for her 1st annual basketball classic at Bronco Youth Center.

While she was going to school at Fort Polk, La., and then at Fort Hood, one parent or the other was deployed, first to Bosnia, Saudi Arabia and then Iraq, she said.

Their absence didn’t stop Ketia from having a stellar career in basketball or from giving back to military children facing similar challenges today.

“I was born a military brat; so I experienced what these kids are going through…a lot more people are being deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so I feel like it’s worse,” Ketia said, before the basketball tournament sponsored by her non-pofit organization, the Ketia4Kidz Foundation (, and the Child, Youth and School Services.

After playing point guard for the University of Connecticut from 2004 to 2008 (she graduated the year before they swept everyone to win the women’s basketball NCAA title), she became a first-round draft pick in the WNBA, where she plays for the Connecticut Sun.

The mission of Ketia4Kidz is “to motivate children of active-duty military personnel to achieve their dreams and goals by promoting excellence in academics and sports related programs,” according to its Web site.

“I just wanted to give back to the military kids and show them as an example they can do anything they put their minds to do,” Ketia said.

Despite their frequent absence, her parents motivated her most. Both were with her Saturday.

Rosie’s message for parents was, “As a mom, always be there to support them and push them. Never tell them they can’t do it. Always encourage them…”

Her mother said Ketia began playing basketball at Fort Polk, when she was six years old. That year they were stationed at Fort Hood, where they remained until Ketia was nine.

“Hood was good;” Rosie said. “I enjoyed the community because it was so much of a Family-oriented thing.”

Just five-feet six-inches tall, Ketia didn’t let her size stop her, either.

“Being small, you’re quick; that’s a big strength so I try to use that to my advantage,” she said.

Her advice to children now is, “Stay in school; make good grades. No matter what happens you’ll have that knowledge. Nobody can take that away from you.”

After leaving Fort Hood, Ketia will get ready for the Sun’s training camp May 17. She also looks forward to working more with Keela Carr, who also accompanied her Saturday.

After walking last summer from Barstow, Ca., to Arlington National Cemetery, where a wreath was placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Carr founded the 1,000 Thanks organization.

“The primary message has always been to show gratitude for veterans and to support troops,” Carr said.

On Memorial Day she will repeat her journey, visiting veterans hospitals and military installations from Barstow to Arlington. This time, she’ll have a team that includes a trainer and three drivers.

Again, she’ll miss Fort Hood.

“That’s another reason I wanted to come with Ketia today,” she added.

Carr, an athletic trainer who lives in Central Florida, met Ketia through a friend.

The difference between their organizations, she said, is, “With Ketia4Kidz we focus on the children of military Families. A lot of the time we focus on the grownups and leave the kids by the wayside.

“So, partnering with Ketia,” she added, “I’ll be letting the kids know they have a resource, supporting them.”

The classic included games between players representing the Copperas Cove Crusaders and military kids of the Ellison High School Scorpions, comprised of junior varsity and varsity teams from both schools.

After leading 23-11 at halftime, the Scorpions JV team lost in overtime, 43-38.

Coach Lonzo Cobaris blamed the Scorpions’ loss on “No teamwork. We had a big lead and gave it up because it was all about me; they didn’t play together as a team.

Crusaders coach Ken Hagger attributed the win to “A little pep talk (at halftime) and hustle. The guys just pulled it out. We changed over to a man-to-man (defense) and that pressure made the difference.”

Between the JV and varsity basketball games, a three-point shooting contest and dunking contest were held. Romando Garcia, a Copperas Cove high school student, hit six of 12 attempts to win the three-point shoot out. Nagee Adams, a Copperas Cove sophomore won the slam dunk contest. In the varsity game, the Scorpions led 31-17 at halftime and won 59-38.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ketia4Kidz Help Future Leaders Experience Their Dreams

Ketia Swanier visited Faith Middle School in Fort Benning, Georgia today to present 15 students of the National Junior Honor Society a $1,000 check to help them fulfill their dreams. In April, they will embark on a three-day journey to Washington D.C. to experience and to explore the city where our nation’s leadership resides and works. The 15 selected students have demonstrated scholarship with their grades, excellence with their character and a willingness to serve their school and community. These students have also been selected to represent Faith Middle School in the ongoing partnership announced by Ketia on January 12, 2009 with Pass Christian Middle School of Pass Christian, Mississippi. The selected students from each school will share their challenges with each other via technology, particularly what it is like to have parents frequently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The selected students from Pass Christian Middle School will have the opportunity to share their experiences of living through Hurricane Katrina.

In addition, the Ketia4Kidz Foundation purchased and gifted Toastmaster International leadership kits and will provide lunch for 15 selected youths of the Fort Benning Youth Services Program. The Youth Services Program will host a Teen Leadership Course for eight weeks beginning April 4, 2009. The course will help the youths become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. The selected youth participants will practice and learn public speaking skills by filling a role in a mock meeting, ranging from giving a prepared or an impromptu speech to serving as a grammarian.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Inspiration for the New Year: Leighton Parker, 11, celebrates through giving

Leighton Parker of Lagrange, Georgia recently celebrated turning 11 in a big way, but not with ponies, helicopter rides, or even a trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

Upon learning more about the Ketia 4 Kidz Foundation and its goals to help military children in need,

Leighton made a decision during her party planning that was anything but typical of a young lady her age.

She asked her party guests to donate to the Ketia4Kidz Foundation instead of bringing her gifts. When asked why she decided to support Ketia4Kidz instead of receiving new toys and clothes for her birthday, she responded, “My desire to help military kids was an honor and a very unselfish act.”

Not only was Leighton thrilled and enthused to contribute to Ketia 4 Kidz’s causes, but so were her friends. She explained that her guests and friends “thought it was great” that she chose to collect donations and that they were excited as she was to contribute.

Thank you to Leighton Parker and her friends for their generous contributions. Their act of pure generosity and selflessness is a shining example for all of us as we begin the New Year, and we are grateful for their dedication to and interest in Ketia 4 Kidz.