NBA legend Vince Carter is tapping into the power of education to uplift youth from underserved communities. The basketball player-turned-analyst recently announced the launch of a new mentorship program designed to level the playing field surrounding access to educational opportunities.
The initiative—dubbed the Vince Carter Scholarship and Mentorship Program—was created for high school students in Toronto. Through the program, students who strive to pursue careers in the areas of STEM, media, music, film, fashion and sports will be aligned with internship and mentorship opportunities and will have access to an array of academic courses that are tailored to fit the career paths they want to take. Students will also be awarded $25,000 to further their education. Carter has teamed up with the Ontario-based J Addison School for the program’s first cohort.
Efforts like the one being led by Carter are needed as education inequities have disproportionately impacted students of color in Toronto. Statistics from the Toronto District School Board revealed the graduation rate for Black high school students is 69 percent and the dropout rate sits at 20 percent. The resources and support that will be provided through Carter’s program will be instrumental in changing the narrative.
Carter isn’t the only retired NBA player who is putting the focus on education. In 2011, Jalen Rose launched the Detroit-based Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. The tuition-free school’s college and post-secondary acceptance rate is 100 percent and it has a 94 percent graduation rate. “Education is a valuable tool that unlocks the future of so many young people, and the dynamics in our country have changed, which is [why I chose to] be the founder of a tuition-free public charter high school that gets zero state funding for the facility,” Rose said in a statement. “It’s crucial for us to get our scholars out in the community to do charity work and to give them the life skills they will need to be successful in the endeavors that they have, and it’s more for us than just obviously the curriculum that’s required to graduate from school.”