**COURTESY NEW YORK LIBERTY**
Charles is 1st Player in WNBA history to receive both Player of the Month and Community Assist Awards for the Same Month of Competition
NEW YORK, June 24, 2016 – Tina Charles of the New York Liberty has been awarded the May WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm for her efforts to bring Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR training to New York City communities.
Charles will officially be presented with the May WNBA Cares Community Assist Award prior to tipoff at tonight’s New York Liberty game against the Chicago Sky at Madison Square Garden, along with being formally recognized as the May WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month. It is the first time since the league’s Player of the Month Award was instituted in 2010 that the one player has received both for the same month of competition, recognizing Charles’ stellar play on the court and significant impact in the community.
Throughout the month of May, expanding on her extraordinary work to improve the health and safety of children and families across the country, Charles and the Hopey’s Heart Foundation (HHF) launched the “Build -Up NYC” Program. With support from the New York City Council, the program is designed to assist with AED placement and CPR training throughout the five boroughs. Charles met with the Red Cross to discuss the importance of AED and CPR education, and she also reached out to officials from New York City Hall to explore partnering with city organizations to provide AED devices and CPR training to communities in need.
Charles and HHF partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide, HeartSmart.com, EMS Safety and the Liberty for sports safety clinics at Aerospace Science Magnet School in Queens and Benjamin Franklin School in the Bronx. Each clinic featured a “Talk It Up” station where students met with Charles for interactive exercises on proper hydration, concussions and emergency response, including CPR education and AED use. Charles donated an AED to Benjamin Franklin School, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a proclamation declaring April 22 to be Hopey’s Day in the city.
Charles founded HHF in memory of her late aunt Maureen “Hopey” Vaz, who died of multiple organ failure. The foundation works to improve the health of children, families and athletes by providing health education, CPR training and lifesaving AEDs to schools and community and recreational centers. Through fundraising, campaigns and Charles’ personal donation of half her WNBA salary, HHF has placed more than 200 AEDs worldwide through its AED grant program. In the last year, Charles has donated more than 100 AEDs through a combination of her own personal donations, matching programs from the Liberty and the generous donations of peers and partners.
“I feel it is my purpose to use my platform as a professional athlete to give back and make a difference in people’s lives,” said Charles. “I am proud of what Hopey’s Heart Foundation has accomplished, placing more than 200 AEDs worldwide since 2013, as we continue to grow with our CPR grant and Build Up NYC programs. I am extremely grateful for this recognition, and look forward to continuing my work on this important initiative.”
The WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm is awarded monthly during the season to the player who best reflects the WNBA’s passion to make a difference in the community. In recognition of Charles’ efforts, the WNBA and State Farm will make a $7,500 donation to the Hopey’s Heart Foundation.