My name is Jasmine Bishop, but my friends and family call me “Jazz.” I am from Waterville, Maine and I am the new fellow for PeacePlayers International, Northern Ireland. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management and my Masters of Business Administration at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine. While at Thomas College, I was a three-sport athlete where I played Basketball, Field Hockey, and Lacrosse. My senior year at Thomas, I was named captain of the Women’s Basketball team.
This past September, I completed a fellowship with Shooting Touch, and spent a year in the village of Kayonza, Rwanda doing what I love best: coaching basketball and working with the Rwandan youth. It was a truly humbling experience; you never realize how much you appreciate hot water until you don’t have it. While in Rwanda, I coached in three communities – Kayonza, Gahini, and Rukara, and I even picked up some of the local language, Kinyarwandan, during my time there.
As my time in Rwanda drew to a close, I knew my next adventure had to be basketball-related and involve working with young people. That was when I found PeacePlayers International. Not only was I excited about the chance to continue doing what I love through the sport of basketball, but also to be able to give back to young people! While it was hard to leave the people of Rwanda and family and friends back home, I look forward to meeting and working with as many people in Northern Ireland as I possibly can.
I have been here in Belfast for almost a week now, and what a crazy week it has been! I have even started to drive. At first I was nervous about driving on the left lane since we drive on the right in America, but my first lesson went great and I didn’t hit anything or anyone. 🙂 Right now I’m doing my best to just absorb all the new information while getting to know the team and of course, the kids.
For my first weekend here in Northern Ireland, I joined the Junior Champions 4 Peace group for a participant-parent residential. This was such a great experience and I was able to really get to know some of the youth involved with PeacePlayers along with some of their parents. Even though it rained all day Saturday, all of the team building games and activities were a blast. I am so happy and thankful that I was able to experience this on my first weekend in Northern Ireland, and I hope it’s a sign of all the great ones to come.
Please know that I will put my best foot forward here and make PeacePlayers International proud that they selected me for this opportunity. I am positive that I will make an impact in the lives of the individuals I am fortunate enough to work with and I am confident that I will learn a lot from them as well.