NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As Vanderbilt’s all-time leading scorer, former basketball star Shan Foster had a huge impact on the court.
His newest career may leave an even bigger legacy. Foster is the new director of MEND, the YWCA’s initiative to end domestic violence.
This summer, MEND is holding a number of forums at Bridgestone Arena in order to inform coaches and mentors of how they can use their positions to end violence against women.
“It’s our responsibility to step up and realize we are all on the same team,” Foster said at the forum held Thursday morning. “We can’t sit on the sidelines and be absent from the conversation.”
As a former professional basketball player, Foster has seen how domestic violence can tear apart families and careers.
“I’ve seen so many great athletes whose careers have been thrown down the drain all because of the bad decisions that they made. Plus, there are so many kids who grow up without fathers in the household all because of domestic violence.”
Thursday’s forum also included guest speaker Chris Hope. The former Tennessee Titan admitted that when he was a child, he saw his father hit his mother.
He made a decision then to be different. Later, as a professional athlete, he decided to use his voice to make a difference.
“To play a sport, to be watched by so many kids, and to be influential to even adults, you get that platform where everyone listens to what you say,” says Hope. “It’s important that you not only say the right things but live it as well so I’ve tried my best to do that as an athlete.”
MEND’s next forum is scheduled for Aug. 5 at 1 p.m.