Children deserve to learn in safe spaces that ignite their imagination and creativity, and NBA star James Harden is ensuring that is a reality for youth who attend underserved schools. According to PIX11, the Brooklyn Nets guard recently visited a school in Harlem to participate in a beautification project.
The initiative was led by Publicolor, a New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to creating college and career pathways for at-risk youth. Harden joined the organization at the P.S. 149 Sojourner Truth school in Central Harlem to help its students tap into the power of art to transform the school’s playground. The NBA All-Star says he wants to use community service as an avenue to inspire youth to dream beyond their circumstances. “I was real big on that in Houston and now just to be in front of these kids and inspiring them,” he said in a statement, according to Nets Wire. “I was in their position. Just a kid figuring out life. Hopefully, I can inspire them to be something great.” Aside from flexing his painting skills, he left students with encouraging words, stressing the importance of prioritizing education.
This isn’t the only youth empowerment-focused philanthropic effort Harden has been a part of. While playing for the Houston Rockets, he teamed up with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to gift children in the city with bikes. He also donated over $240,000 to renovate basketball courts in Houston after Hurricane Harvey destroyed them.
Several NBA stars are leading impactful initiatives designed to educate and inspire youth. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and his wife Ayesha recently spearheaded a project centered on eradicating food insecurity and making educational enrichment opportunities accessible for children in Oakland, California. Donovan Mitchell renovated basketball courts at The Children’s Village Community Center in New York.