By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
OLE Miss women’s basketball coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin is using her platform to spearhead her own fundraising effort, with a focus on the mental health of the victims of Hurricane Dorian’s path of destruction.
The native Grand Bahamian established a GoFundMe.com account - “Hurricane Dorian relief with Coach Yo” and pledged $5,000 to kickstart the effort.
“I want to provide mental care, because there will be a lot of psychological damage and in the Bahamas we don’t talk about mental health care, we don’t believe in it, it’s not something we grew up on. I remember I had postpartum (depression) and my mom didn’t really know how to respond to it because it’s just not something that is talked about back home. It it is real and is probably why alcoholism is at a high in the Bahamas, because that’s how people deal with their pain,” McPhee-McCuin said in her video appeal posted on Instagram, “If you are a licensed psychologist and you deal with catastrophic incidents and you want to go home, I hope to raise enough money where I can fly you home, even if it’s for a week at a time so that you can assist in rebuilding our great nation.”
To date, the fund has raised approximately $16,000.
“This has been an incredible emotional time for me. I was born and raised in the Bahamas and I was born and raised in Freeport where Hurricane Dorian decided to hover for hours and bring catastrophic blows to my home. I think the toughest thing was being able to see people go through what they are going through and be helpless. Even if I was there right now I would be helpless because I would be under duress,” she said, “I want to use my platform to provide relief for those in need. I will physically go down there and do it but at the same time there are many relief efforts that I am going to support, that I know are legit and are not stealing from my people because that’s the last thing we need.”
McPhee-McCuin is in the second year of her tenure at the helm of the Rebels’ programme.
“This is the worst our country has likely ever seen...I’d like to not only help with the provision for supplies and essentials but also counseling/mental care support as the hurricane has taken an unimaginable emotional and psychological toll on adults and children from young to old alike,” she posted in her personal message on the GoFundMe page, “My family and I pledge to personally donate 5k to this effort and my plan is to distribute it and additional contributions to various organizations around the Bahamas that are truly supporting the relief, recovery and wellness of Bahamian people. Once the airports open up I will personally make a trip to ensure funds are used to rebuild our beautiful Island not only physically but mentally.”
McPhee-McCuin was recently in Grand Bahama when she made an appearance at the Buddy Hield Basketball Camp in July.
In her first season, the Rebels finished 9-22, 3-13 in Southeastern conference play. They were eliminated in the opening round of the SEC tournament but the season was highlighted by the first ranked road win for the Rebels since 2011 when they defeated the Kentucky Wildcats for the first time since 2007.
In the offseason, she signed an extension which will run through the 2023 season.
In addition to increasing their win total by two from the previous year, she also increased the team’s profile off the court throughout Oxford, Mississippi with several community outreach efforts.
Ole Miss will lose three seniors from last year’s team, but their future includes incoming junior and Bahamian national team standout Valerie Nesbitt.
The Rebels Bahamian basketball connection also includes men’s team members Franco Miller Jr and Sammy Hunter.