A Day in the Life of TaRonda Wiles
Monday, September 15, 2008

Leading up to the 2008-09 ETSU women's basketball season, the ETSU media relations office, with help from graduate assistant Lindsay Christensen, will feature player profiles on all 12 of the Lady Buccaneer student-athletes. This new segment allows fans to catch a glimpse of what each player is doing off the court, as the Lady Bucs look to make a run at their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.


TaRonda Wiles, a 5-10 junior guard/forward, from Danville, Va. spent time away from her busy schedule to kick off the weekly segment called "A Day In the Life of."


When TaRonda Wiles describes herself she sums it up in two words "out there." 


The Danville, Va. native is a tad different than your average Division I basketball player.  Sure, she goes to practice, lifts, and has class - the same as every normal student-athlete does - but Wiles has a few characteristics that set her apart from her peers.  These differences, in the end, are what will ensure her success once she is no longer playing college basketball.  With big dreams and a strong drive, Wiles hopes to make a difference in the lives of others, long after she leaves the gym.


One aspiration the 2008 Atlantic Sun Tournament Team selection hopes to develop is a program called "Hearts 4 Homes."   This is a charity organization she plans to begin as soon as her schedule allows it.  With 18 credits hours on plate and playing basketball she is forced, for now, to create the program only in her head. However, after hearing the passion in her voice as she describes her plans, there is no doubt "Hearts 4 Homes" will become a reality.


When TaRonda is not at school, she works at Stonewall Recreation Center for the disabled.  Each day she spends time there, she is inspired by the people she comes in contact with. 


"Just spending time with them always seems to make their day better," said Wiles.   


Helping others and making them feel better is what Wiles is all about.  Her aspiration is to improve the lives of others, specifically those who do not have families.


Ultimately, "Hearts 4 Homes" will provide housing and recreation for disabled children without parents or someone who truly wants to take care of them.  The organization will teach people how to live with their disability, and eventually take care of themselves.  Wiles wants to provide them with independence that is often not achieved without the right care.


In designing this Wiles will seek help from her family, in particular, her older brother and role model, Terence. When TaRonda was growing up her parents were always encouraging her, and even now they play an important role in her life; even if she is a few hours away from home.  


"As long as I can call them and talk I am fine," commented Wiles.  "They always have total confidence in me."


Not all of her dreams stray so far from the court.  Wiles also designed a basketball shoe, called the "Flight 22" (her jersey number).  This is just one of many creative escapades for the athlete, who enjoys drawing and writing.


Currently, TaRonda is a criminal justice major, with a minor in social work; which she plans on turning into a second major. What's one more thing to add to her incredibly busy schedule? However, just like she does on the court, Wiles will find a way to make it happen.


For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.