MIDTOWN, Manhattan- “This is the best day ever!” Karina’s smile says it all, as she takes in a girl’s night out at Planet Hollywood. “Being here with all my sister girl scouts makes it even better because we’re here together,” she said. The 11-year-old is part of a one-of-a-kind troop made up solely of kids living in city shelters. “Right now we’re currently living in a homeless shelter because we got kicked out of the house because they were building an apartment next door and they wanted that area,” Karina explained.
A free meal wasn’t all that was on the menu; they got a special visit by players from the WNBA’s New York Liberty. “Being here, having fun and just giving back is the most important,” Sugar Rodgers said. Words that couldn’t ring more true for guard, Sugar Rodgers. “I was 14 when my mom passed away from Lupus,” she remembered. “We lost our house so I bounced around staying with friends, staying with cousins, wherever I could lay my head at night and you know I found basketball.”
Shared experiences that helped her genuinely connect with many of the scouts, especially Karina. “We both love basketball and she’s just so beautiful and amazing,” Karina gushed. “Her heart is like the most sweetest thing you could ever see.” But the night was far from over! The Liberty ladies had even more surprises up their sleeves. “I haven’t seen Wonder Woman so I’m excited to see that,” Rodgers smiled. “I also think I’m Super Woman a little you know so I should wear that big ‘S’ on my chest for Sugar!”
Just like the woman on screen, Sugar hopes to be a role model and source of strength for girls. “They look up to us, basically we inspire them, but they don’t know that they inspire us,” Sugar said. And for Karina, it’s a message that couldn’t have come at a better time. “At the end of the day you know you’re going to get through it because it’s just one time in your life,” she said.
Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi