MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – Today the Lynx announced the signing of five new honorary members to their roster, Jaiden Johnson (Tubman), Morgan Johnson (Jewish Community Center of the greater St. Paul Area), Ellana Keaveny (American Cancer Society), Qyiam Mesidor (Tubman – Safe Journey’s Program) and Tess Smith (HopeKids). Each new member will be paired with a Lynx starter as a mentor for today’s practice and through the season. The mentors will include Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Sylvia Fowles, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen.
In addition to signing an honorary contract, the new members of the Lynx team will have one-on-one time with their mentor, take part in practice, run through skills drills and eat lunch in the Lynx player’s lounge. The “Dream Team” will also be honored on court prior to an upcoming game this season, highlighting their time with the team.
Minnesota non-profit organizations were given the opportunity to nominate youth (18 years old and under) through an application process on LynxBasketball.com. Nominations included the youth’s background and why they should be chosen for the Dream Team, why they are passionate about the Minnesota Lynx and basketball and lastly, they had to draw a picture of their favorite Lynx memory.
Jaiden Johnson, 14, comes to the Lynx from Tubman and plays point guard for Roseville Area High School. Johnson has been playing basketball since she was in middle school. Basketball has been a consistent positive activity in her life having grown up around intense violence. Her passion for basketball comes from her brother and aunt who have kept her active and involved during high school.
Morgan Johnson, 9, comes to the Lynx from the Jewish Community Center of the greater St. Paul Area and has been participating in the Youth Basketball Leagues since she was five years old. Johnson has enjoyed the opportunity to meet new friends each year she plays basketball. Johnson loves the Minnesota Lynx because the women on the team used to be girls like her and they show that she can be like them if she sets her mind to it.
Ellana Keaveny, 11, comes to the Lynx from the American Cancer Society and plays for the Waconia travel team for the Minnesota Thunder AAU team. Keaveny has helped her Relay For Life team in Waconia raise over $58,000 over the last six years since her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Two years ago, she was awarded the United States Midwest Regional Top Youth Fundraiser by the American Cancer Society.
Qyiam Mesidor, 16, comes to the Lynx from Tubman – Safe Journey’s program and fell in love with basketball at an early age, but wasn’t able to play due to his upbringing. Recently playing basketball in high school has given him the ability to gain the support from his coaches and teammates that he needs. The game of basketball has empowered Mesidor and has become something to look forward to in his life.
Tess Smith, 12, comes to the Lynx from HopeKids and has been a Lynx fan since attending the birthday party of her sister at a game. Smith was born with a congenital heart defect called Truncus Arteriosus and was required to have open heart surgery when she was just five weeks old. Even though she cannot play basketball because of her health condition, the Minnesota Lynx are a team she can cheer passionately about.
Tubman is a multi-service agency that offers safety, hope, and healing to people of all ages experiencing relationship violence, exploitation, addiction or mental health challenges, and other forms of trauma. Tubman offers countless ways to help, including family violence shelter and transitional housing; legal services including Orders for Protection; mental and chemical health assessment, treatment and support; elder abuse services; youth programs and in-school violence prevention education; resource counseling, job readiness and financial education; and community education and professional training.
About Tubman- Safe Journey’s Program
Safe Journeys is a Tubman program that offers a full complement of services to young people of all genders, ages 13-24, and their own children, who have been victims of exploitation, including sex trafficking. It includes housing, legal and health services, parenting support groups, job counseling and more so they can continue their own journey towards safety, hope, and healing.
About Jewish Community Center of the greater St. Paul Area:
The St. Paul JCC continues to be a vibrant, engaged and thriving community center welcoming a diverse and expanding membership. The JCC will create new and unique ways for members and the community to experience, appreciate, deepen and enrich their connection to contemporary Jewish culture. The Center will recognize and embrace change to meet emerging needs, imagining the possible, within and beyond its walls.
About American Cancer Society:
The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Their Global Headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia, and we have regional and local offices throughout the country to ensure we have a presence in every community.
Since 2006, HopeKids Minnesota has been providing an ongoing calendar of events and activities for families who have a child with a life-threatening medical condition, such as cancer. Each month, HopeKids schedules a variety of sporting events, live performances, museum visits or other types of fun activities for the whole family. HopeKids strives to keep kids focused on the future, looking forward to the next fun event around the corner, rather than dwelling on what they are dealing with in the present. All of HopeKids events are focused on the whole family to prevent siblings from being unintentionally overlooked, bring families together that understand their journey and are offered at no cost to families. HopeKids has chapters in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota and Texas.