Crossing over Continents: Rollins Community Supports Cameroonian Camp
August 06, 2009
Rollins has a rich history of graduates who have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place. Fred Rogers (Class of 1951) committed his life to service, promoting the values of neighborliness. As mayor of Orlando from 1992 to 2002, Glenda Hood (Class of 1972) worked tirelessly to strengthen community neighborhoods and upgrade local parks. Following in their footsteps of responsible leadership, Ines Teuma (Class of 2009) devoted the past three years to expanding Rollins’ mission of global citizenship to the continent of Africa.
Born in Cameroon, Ines Teuma came to the United States in 2005 at the age of 18. After attending Palm Beach Community College for one year, Teuma transferred to Rollins College and joined the Lady Tars women’s basketball team.
An avid basketball player since she was 15, Teuma spent her youth playing in Cameroon. However, due to the area’s low socioeconomic status, Teuma never had the opportunity to attend a basketball camp. During her first year at Rollins, Teuma made it her mission to provide the Cameroonian youth with the opportunity to attend a summer basketball camp.
With the support of her Rollins basketball coaches, Teuma spent the year gathering gym equipment and collecting slightly-worn shoes from her teammates. The project was soon dubbed, “Lady Tars Crossover Program,” representing the connection of two continents, two societies, and two worlds. In summer 2007, the Lady Tars Crossover Program sponsored its first summer basketball camp in Cameroon for boys and girls ages 7-17. The intent of the program was to give the youth a healthy summer activity and to reuse “old” materials.
“I want to show them that there is hope,” said Teuma.
In 2008, with the help of Assistant coach Tami Stark, the Lady Tars Crossover Program took another step forward by organizing a shoe drive in local Winter Park churches, which resulted in a collection of 87 pairs of shoes. There to distribute the shoes and support the Rollins mission of global citizenship were two Rollins students Theresa Chu (Class of 2011) and Megan Schroder (Class of 2008).
“It took us an entire day to count the number of shoes and t-shirts we had brought with us,” said Chu. “We were exhausted before the camp had even started, but when we went to watch the kids play basketball, we saw that our hard work had paid off. These kids were learning and improving their basketball skills. Without the help of Ines and the people who donated the supplies, this camp would not have been able to happen.”
Summer 2009 marked the third annual summer basketball camp in Cameroon. A total of 90 camp participants were chosen by coaches of the local schools. Included in the camp activities this year were children from a local orphanage and a center for the deaf and mute. At the end of the summer session, the camp hosted its third annual “Lady Tars Tournament,” in which young adults from neighboring villages competed.
Teuma attributes the success of the program to Rollins and the rest of the Winter Park community. “I was really grateful that Rollins gave me the means to do this program,” said Teuma. “In particular, there were organizations on campus that were very open and receptive such as Fox Funds, Rollins Alumni Association, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Community Engagement, Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, and Knowles Memorial Chapel.”
“There were also off-campus people who were willing to donate such as St. Margaret Mary Church,” said Teuma. “It looks like it’s me, but it’s really other people that are receptive. I am just the bridge between Winter Park and Cameroon.”
--Brittany Fornof (Class of 2011)