MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Mayo Clinic Health System and Mankato Youth Place, previously the Boys and Girls Club of Mankato, partnered to bring Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx players to play basketball with kids in the MY Place program Tuesday.
The players taught the kids lessons both on and off the court.
Ten-year-old Niyah Erickson, who said she wants to be a professional athlete when she grows up, was among the approximately 60 kids in attendance.
“What I learned today is that you have to keep your eyes up," she said.
Lynx player Jessica Shepard said it’s important for the kids to have role models.
“So just to be able to come here and spend a little bit of time, you know it’s a lot bigger than basketball. You know, just being able to share what we’ve learned throughout our career with the kids," she said.
Mayo Clinic Health System Director of Community Relations and Partnerships Laura Bowman said the event was also a way for the kids to stay healthy in more ways than one.
“We know that a child can’t be healthy without being healthy in all aspects of their life. It’s not just their physical health, right. It’s their social health, their emotional health, that they’re connected to other kids that they feel that they belong," she said.
Erickson said she was inspired after learning from the pros.
“Like, if you get hurt or anything, you stand right back up," she said.