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A very special charity event featuring Tatyana Ali will take place on January 16, 2011, in LA.

“Hoops For Hope L.A.” is a three-part charity event for all ages that will take place at the world famous Los Angeles Staples Center, with celebrity guests including Tatyana Ali. All proceeds will benefit the Hawk Hoops Sports Foundation. Hoops For Hope L.A. was created by a former NBA celebrity athlete and ambassador for the American Stroke Association, Juaquin Hawkins. Juaquin is a stroke survivor who continues with his efforts to spread awareness by sharing his personal story to others. Hoops For Hope L.A. focuses on providing youth camps, after-school programming, the prevention of childhood obesity and creating stroke awareness.

Juaquin recently spoke to Misty Griffey about the event and his charity work.

Why did you choose to support stroke-based charities?

It is very important for youth and adults know that stroke can affect anyone, anytime regardless of age, gender or nationality. I had a stroke and I didn’t know it, people around me didn’t know it and doctors didn’t know it until it was almost too late.

How long have you supported them?

After my stroke therapy started 2 years ago, I began my mission to promote stroke awareness through my experience.

How did you get involved?

Well, being a professional athlete and having a stroke was very devastating to me and my family. At only 34 years old, my life would change for ever. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the stroke warning signs and [I was] not able to walk or talk at one point. It would be something that I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel. Stroke can affect your mobility and speech for the rest of life. I want to help decrease the chances of anyone else experiencing what I did. So I am honored to be selected as an ambassador of the American Stroke Association to promote stroke awareness and stroke prevention.

Can you talk a little bit about some of the other causes that you support?

Children’s causes are dear to me because I was raised in a single parent home and never had a father in my life. As a child, I was sad many times and had friends that had a mom and a dad. That loneliness that I had motivated me to do something positive in life and I found that sports would be my outlet. So after achieving my dream in playing in the NBA I wanted to provide opportunities to our youth today to have a outlet through youth camps and after school programs that I conduct personally to give them hope.

And how important do you think it is for celebrities to get involved in charity?

With celebrities being involved in charity events, it inspires others to support and bring more awareness for that cause. Celebrities are well respected because they too have a story and have worked extremely hard to get to that status. They become perfect examples to support something that will only improve our society. So when a celebrity supports a cause or charity it will also encourage others to help out when they can.

LookToTheStars.org would like to thank Juaquin for his time and the great effort he is making for charity.

Hawk Hoops Sports Foundation (H.H.S.F) is a non-profit organization that conducts youth basketball camps, clinics and after school programs for boys & girls ages 7-15. Through this youth program, the fundamentals of basketball are taught along with educating youth about childhood obesity, promoting stroke awareness and mentoring boys and girls about maintaining a healthy life style through sports by utilizing both current and former professional athletes to spread the message.

With school budgets cut throughout the nation HAWK HOOPS established Hoops For Hope L.A., a charity fundraiser event that gives a youth basketball camp for foster children or kids from single parent homes, celebrity basketball game and performances by various recording artists.

HHSF has conducted youth programs for the past 8 years and had the opportunity to mentor over 3,500 boys and girls across the country. Through youth camps and after school programming Hawk Hoops has inspired many boys and girls.

For more event information or to participate, visit www.hawk-hoops.com.

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