Determined to diversify the tech industry and empower underprivileged youth, NBA star Russell Westbrook has launched a new STEM education program for at-risk teens in Los Angeles, Bleacher Report reported.
The initiative—named the Westbrook/Brownstein Green Tech Program—provides engineering, coding and computer literacy classes for teens to prepare them to pursue careers in the tech space. The program is a collaborative effort between Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation, the LA Conservation Corps, and philanthropist Chad Brownstein. Westbrook was inspired to develop the project after realizing how impactful exposing inner-city youth to STEM education can be. He says the lack of programs that were available to him while he was coming of age in L.A. motivated him to provide educational resources for youth to change the trajectory of their lives.
“I feel like this particular program actually impacts the kids’ futures, impacts their mind, the mentality of where they grew up, where they’re from,” he said in a statement. “I definitely can relate to that because I feel like I was one of those kids growing up in the city of Los Angeles and finding my way, figuring out what was the best path for me.”
The Houston Rockets player isn’t the only NBA star who is supporting Los Angeles youth. In partnership with the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Baby2Baby and the L.A. Clippers Foundation, Kawhi Leonard vowed to donate one million backpacks to underprivileged children in Southern California. “Going to the NBA, this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to give back to my community,” said Leonard. “That’s why I’m so happy to be back home. I’m able to be hands-on in the community where I grew up and where it started for me.”