ImageBellaire Rotary sponsored a February character-development program for Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary students featuring the famous Harlan Ambassadors during their Texas tour. The program, which emphasized the importance of staying in school, remaining drug-free, and avoiding bullying, was a great hit with the grades 3-5 crowd of students. The Ambassadors are college-educated, drug-free hoopsters who travel worldwide promoting positive values for youths.  Photo (upper Left) shows BSWH Rotarians Judy Harwell, Mike White, and Vicki Wang with the Ambassadors and principal Elena Martinez-Buley. Read on for sample answers to chlldren's questions from Ambassadors Coach Lady Majic.


From Harlem Ambassadors website:

Lade Majic: The Harlem Ambassadors are all drug-free and want you to be, too. If you make positive choices about pursuing your education and staying away from drugs and alcohol, you’ll better prepare yourself to achieve your dreams.

Question:  Some friends of mine have started smoking. They all say it's really cool and want me to do it too. I know it's wrong, but I don't want to lose my friends. No one will probably find out if I do it anyway. What do you think I should do?

Lade Majic:  You should talk to your parents, your guardian or someone you can trust and tell them about the situation. You should also think about whether or not those "so-called" friends of yours are really friends. Real friends would not put you in a compromising position or ask you to do something illegal that would potentially harm you. If you really care about these people and consider them "real" friends, talk to them and help them make the right decision. If they won't listen to you and do the right thing, you'll have to make a tough decision and not be their friends.

Question:  I'm in seventh grade and I love just playing basketball. When I was in sixth grade we had fun playing and the coach was really cool. This year the coach is all serious and yells a lot and gets real mad.  Stuff like that gets me all nervous and I can't have any fun. Should I quit?

Lade Majic:  No one person is totally identical to another. We are all different. That being said, you have to understand that different coaches have different coaching styles. Some coaches yell and some coaches don't. Some players get along with the assistant coach better than with the head coach while some players find it easier communicating directly with the head coach. My advice to you is this: if you don't love the sport anymore, quit. But, if you love the sport like you say you do, focus on what you can learn from this new coach and come to every practice and every game with an open mind and a receptive heart. After all, you'll most likely have a new coach the following season anyway. Hang in there and stick with it.

Question:  The Ambassadors came to our town and the game was awesome!!! What do I have to do to be on your team?

Lade Majic:  You should take your academic and athletic career seriously in high school and college, remain drug-free and live your life in a righteous manner. Don't just talk a good talk. Walk the walk! Then, if you are selected to become a member of the Harlem Ambassadors Touring Basketball Team, you'll have a easier time adjusting to the requirements of being a "Real" Ambassador.

Question:  My dad told me that I couldn't play any more basketball until I get on the Honor Roll. School is so borrrrrring! And besides, I'm going to be in the NBA and those guys don't need to know history and math and all that.  Can you tell my dad for me that I should be working on my game and school isn't THAT important?

Lade Majic:  The truth is this: the knowledge you attain in school will last longer than any athletic ability you possess. Listen to your father and take your studies seriously. Remember, student comes first. That is why you are considered a "Student-Athlete" throughout your high school and collegiate career. FYI, my mother said the same thing to me and I'm so glad I listened to her. I was able to manage my time wisely and succeed in the classroom as well as on the basketball court.

Question:  There's a playground at the end of our block so I go there in the morning and shoot baskets.   But when the boys come around and play real games, they just take over. They won't let me play just because I'm a girl and that's not fair because I can play just as good as those stupid boys. My  mom won't let me go anywhere else, so how can I make them let me play?

Lade Majic:  When I was younger, I would get to the gym early and complete my individual workouts before the big guys got there. They tried to run me off the court as well but I held my ground. I remained on one side of the court and therefore they played half court games. When they tried to bully me off the court to run full court games, I held my ground because they weren't being fair. Finally, one of the older guys respected the fact that I stood up for what I believed and said he'd be on my team so that I could run full court games with them. Some of the guys attempted to rough me up at times but once they realized I wasn't backing down, they respected my desire to compete and before long, I had a lot of those same guys protecting me from other guys who tried to take cheap shots at me. It wasn't too long after that, that I was accepted as a regular "baller" at the gym... and, I wasn't the last one picked either.