By Shannen Hill
Special to the NNPA News Wire from the L.A. Watts Times
Basketball player Chris Paul brought tears to the eyes of a group of teenagers in the Brotherhood Crusade afterschool program when he partnered with State Farm and Jordan Brand’s WINGS to donate a computer lab with state of the art equipment on Monday, Oct. 26.
The Brotherhood Crusade is a community center located near Leimert Park that raises offers youth job training, teen counseling, scholarships and more. The computer lab will feature state of the art technology that will allow the students to work on their research and presentation skills. “This small token is for you guys to learn and enjoy because one of the things that we always talk about is just because a kid is on this side of town, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have the same advantages as kids from another side of town,” Chris Paul said. “So you guys have it which comes with the responsibility of taking care of it. And the only other thing I’m going to ask y’all to do is teach me how to use it!”
The computer lab comes complete with 25PC and iMac desktop computers, along with 25 MacBook Pros for mobile learning. The computers have various programs, including Microsoft Office and programs for music and graphic design. The lab also comes equipped with two promethean smart boards, which are touchscreen and full of software to create flip charts, use hypertext to virtually write on the boards and to overall grow the students’ presentation skills.
“Technology is the new age and having up to date technology will give the students the opportunity to really strive and get access to things that they need access to,” said Hope Robinson, a youth advocate with Brotherhood Crusade.
The students were excited and honored to have the basketball superstar spend the hour with them, figuring out how to work the smart boards, signing T-shirts and speaking to them about responsibility.
“And the event wasn’t just about the technology. It was also about the impact that Chris Paul had on the youth and it seems like they were really impacted by what he had to say to them,” Robinson said.
This event was the first under the new Exist to Assist Community Program partnership between the State Farm, Jordan Brand’s WINGS and the Chris Paul Family Foundation. Throughout the next year, the program will reach multiple US cities to identify local needs like refurbishing schools to building new basketball courts and everything in between.
“Getting here wasn’t done on my own. I had my parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, coaches, teachers,” Paul said. “Everyone played a role in getting me to where I am and we do this strictly to provide an extra tool for them to achieve what they want to achieve.”
The event was full of smiles as students surrounded the computers and explored ways to use the smart boards. Not only were members of Brotherhood Crusade appreciative of the partnership, but all of the foundations involved appreciated being able to give to the community program.
“We thank Chris Paul and his foundation. We thank State Farm. We thank Brand Jordan,” said Curtis Silvers, executive director of Brotherhood Crusade. “They are now members of the Brotherhood Crusade family, we believe that we’re a part of their family and it was a great day all in all.”
For more information on how you can get involved with Brotherhood Crusade, visit www.brotherhoodcrusade.org. For more information on Exist to Assist, visit www.chrispaul3.com.