Jazha Thompson, Catholic Charities SYEP Assistant
by Benjamin Fang
Jul 11, 2017 | 2771 views | 0 0 comments | 296 296 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At age 16, Jazha Thompson already knows she wants to be a professional basketball player when she grows up.

The downtown Brooklyn native has been playing since she was a child. Growing up, she was surrounded by friends who played ball, and her stepfather plays as well.

“Basketball isn’t just something you play, you have to learn and study it,” Thompson said. “You have to have a good basketball IQ to play correctly. It’s not just about passing and shooting the ball.”

But Thompson, who is currently a junior at Institute for Collaborative Education in Manhattan, said if it doesn’t work out, she might need a backup just in case.

This summer, she was selected to work at Catholic Charities’ Brooklyn office as part of the citywide Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). It’s her second year in a row at the site, where she does mostly clerical work.

“It was really good because people know me, they know what I’m capable of doing,” Thompson said. “Once I learned how to do clerical work, it was easy.”

She learned how to speak to people over the phone, take notes and be in a professional office setting.

“The more you learn, the more it comes to you and you know what you’re doing,” Thompson said. “This will help me for other jobs.”

Next year, she said she may try a job in retail just to have a different experience and gain new skills.

“I want to be a professional athlete, but it’s always good to have a backup plan,” she said. “That’s why you have to do different jobs like clerical and retail. You will know how to do everything when the time comes.”

But she still has her eye on a college scholarship to play basketball.

“If there’s a bump in the road, just keep on keeping on,” Thompson said. “Everything works out for the best.”
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