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TEAMWORK, TENACITY, AND TRIUMPH ON THE COURT ARE TRANSFORMATIVE

Mariah is a shy 14-year-old girl who could be described as a wallflower. A person who preferred to exist quietly in the background, a bit apprehensive and frequently relying on others to take the lead.

People would not know this while watching her on the court with her basketball team. Mariah was a leader on the Northwest Passage Pioneers basketball team that started last year. She is still working on stepping up vocally but she was the first to shoot or go after the ball and with low numbers on the team, was always willing to play the entire 24 minutes.

“Mariah is one of the hardest working players on the team,” her coach Taylor said. “She is the point guard, has a knack for the ball, great ball control, and is a great defender, leading the team in steals after three games.”

Through basketball, Mariah found an outlet to explore some of her capabilities, both athletically and on a deeper, personal level. She not only learned to work together with a team but she explored her own independence, perseverance, and resilience.

“Basketball, here at Passage, means a lot to me,” Mariah explained. “I’m so proud to be able to play in an actual game again. I like that I can play as a team again and just have fun playing with my peers. When I play basketball it helps me release my stress and all the negativity I have going on.”

The Pioneers team was a therapeutic experience for Mariah. She was forced to sit with the distress or discomfort she may have been feeling, while also staying in the exact moment she was in, not thinking about the past or the future, and working on improving her skills in order to master the sport. Each of these things is a fundamental piece of the dialectical behavioral therapy she learned at Northwest Passage.

“Mariah glows when she is on the court and her pride is positively tangible,” Gina describes. “As her therapist, I am hopeful that as she moves forward, the benefits of basketball will not only continue while she is here but also long after she transitions into the community.”

IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE THE PIONEERS IN ACTION – COME TO A GAME!

Basketball is a healthy, recreational activity that falls under the PassageWay elements for living a therapeutic lifestyle, which Mariah learned every day. Mariah will be able to find basketball anywhere from urban areas to rural farmlands as she moves forward from Northwest Passage. It will help her make healthier lifestyle choices, build relationships, and avoid old patterns such as substance abuse or other conduct issues.

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