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Washington's Nakia Sanford Receives Community Assist Award

September 5, 2007 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) News Release

NEW YORK, September, 5th, 2007 - In recognition of Washington Mystics center Nakia Sanford's commitment to the community, the WNBA honored her with the Community Assist Award for July. Sanford actively works with youth development programs through Mystics community outreach initiatives and her own charity organization, The Bar Foundation.

Through July, Sanford participated in numerous Hip Hop Teen Forums hosted by the Mystics Foundation, where she helped address issues and concerns facing today's young people. On July 15, she served as a panelist to discuss the "N" word and it's implications on society, and on July 29, she shared her personal experience with teen depression with a group of students at George Washington University.

Sanford also worked to raise funds and awareness for malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa, through the Mystics' partnership with the United Nation Foundation's Nothing But Nets program. On July 25, she was joined by teammate Monique Currie for a "Hoops on the Hill" fundraiser where the players challenged Capital Hill staffers and members of Congress to make free throws to raise money for bed nets to be sent to Africa.

"Nakia's honest and open comments in the Hip Hop Forums that she participated in proved to be invaluable," said Cynthia Dinkins, Washington Mystics President. "She allowed us to see her vulnerability which was an essential ingredient in allowing the young people in our audience to do the same."

"The Washington Mystics Foundation is very proud of Nakia's participation and hope that she will continue to participate in years to come."

Sanford also dedicates countless hours to The Bar Foundation, an organization she created in memory of her late grandmother, Betty Ann Robinson, to support youth as they navigate their way into adulthood. Based in her hometown of Atlanta, the foundation provides personal and academic enrichment programs and development opportunities to high school students in grades 9-12.

"It's so great to receive this award," said Sanford. "The Betty Ann Robison [BAR] Foundation has been working very hard to reach as many youth as possible with our programs and I am so lucky to play for a team that has such a focus on community outreach, and gives me extra opportunities to serve our community."

The WNBA Community Assist Award is presented monthly to the player who best reflects the league's passion for making a difference in the community. In recognition of the recipient's charitable efforts, the WNBA is donating $5,000 to the organization of her choice, The Bar Foundation.

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