HELENA — Jamie Pickens’ accomplishments on the basketball court at Helena High are well-known.
Two-time Class AA state champion (2017-2018); 2018 USA Today All-Montana team MVP; 2018 Gatorade player of the year.
But her accomplishments off the court might rival those.
As part of winning the Gatorade player of the year award, Pickens was given $1,000 to donate to a charity of her choosing, and she wasted no time making her decision.
“There were definitely other options I had in mind,” said Pickens. “But I think YMCA hit close to home, so it was a quick one. When I was younger I went through the YMCA to learn communication skills and competitiveness, and they really help with that coming up from a young age and help me work with my teammates. They’re a great organization for that.”
With this donation, the future Montana Lady Grizzly will be helping to provide a similar path for kids in the Capital City to follow.
“The donation will go to our sports scholarship fund to get more kids out there playing, active, and no kid is ever turned away from participating in activities at the YMCA,” said CEO of the Helena Family YMCA David Smith. “They are always able to sign up and give us a call and ask and we’ll put a kid in a sport anytime, so there is a lot of need out there, so don’t be afraid to ask.”
“They provide an opportunity for everyone to play,” said Pickens. “If you can’t pay, they help with that. That’s why I chose them, so I could help out with funding towards families that can’t pay, so that’s an awesome opportunity for them.”
And it’s a good opportunity for Helena as a whole.
“This is an important donation, because kids get to play and it just solidifies the importance of the community and what we do here, that we’re not just a swim and gym,” said Smith. “And even though this is a sports-related honor, what we’re doing is being able to add more kids to being able to participate and further our impact on our community.”
Helping out the YMCA isn’t limited to Gatorade player of the year winners.
“We always need volunteers,” continued Smith. “We have over 900 volunteers a year, and that’s moms and dads and people in the community that want to help out kids. They are parents in the community. They’re leaders in businesses, and so we’re always looking for volunteers.”
If you are interested in helping out at the YMCA, please click the link here.