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Dishing out assists

Whether volunteering time to a civic, mentoring children or working behind a cause, many with local ties are making our neighborhoods a better place to live.

By Bill Gelman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 13, 2011

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Letty Santarelli

Photo by Greg Bezanis

Google Letty Santarelli and one will discover that this 1986 Immaculata University graduate was a NCAA First Team All-American selection who was nationally ranked in both scoring and rebounding and selected to play in the Women’s Professional Basketball League, which proceeded the WNBA.

These days, girls ranging from grade to high school are benefitting from the 47-year-old’s basketball passion and knowledge. The resident of the 2900 block of South Broad Street, is involved with the game year-round. Her current basketball résumé includes coaching the Amateur Athletic Union’s Philadelphia Comets; the Catholic Youth Organization squad for St. Richard, 1828 Pollock St., as well as serving as an assistant for the Neumann-Goretti Saints.

In the last two years, she has added the title of outreach director for Philly Girls Got Game — an organization committed to the development and improvement of girls’ basketball. One aspect of the program includes holding an annual clinic at Neumann-Goretti with Philadelphia Big 5 coaches and players volunteering their services.

The organization has since added a fall basketball league with fourth- through sixth-graders playing weekly games at Guerin Rec Center, 16th and Jackson streets, and seventh- and eighth-graders taking the Neumann-Goretti court Saturday mornings.

It may seem likethe Marconi resident lives on the local basketball courts, but she also has three kids involved with sports. Fred, 18, plays football for the Pottstown-based Hill School, Tisha, 16, attends Bishop Eustace in New Jersey while Alexis, 13, is an eighth-grader at St. Richard. All three volunteer some of their time helping out at camps and clinics.

“My youngest will come in after a volleyball game and ask to help with the clock or book,” Santarelli, a Delaware County native, said. “They are learning to give back to the community. My husband [Fred] also is very supportive.”

No matter which team she is coaching, Santarelli promotes a winning mentality

“I guess the thing I try to instill in the girls is if you want to be successful in life, you need to be disciplined, focussed and have good character,” Santarelli said. “Having fun is really important and goes with anything in life, not just sports.”

Contact Editor Bill Gelman at bgelman@southphillyreview.com.

More 2011 Difference Makers:

Madeline Brinkman   Louis DiRenzo   Bonney DosSantos   Andrew Emma   Darren Fava  

Sara Feinstein   Greg Frangipani   Gary Harkins   Kelly Hile   Mitch Little   Robert Malara  

Jessica Mammarella   Chris Menna   Anton Moore   John Murawski   Cassie Plummer  

Sue Posternock   Michelle Rumbaugh   Christy Santoro   Marianne Squillaciotti  

Walter Stewart   Jennifer Swain   Angelica Victoriano   Joe Whelan

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