66ers Go Green with "A New Leaf"

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March 31, 2014

As the 2013-14 NBA D-League season enters its final week of action, the Tulsa 66ers wrapped up its community calendar with a trip to A Green Leaf, Inc. last Thursday afternoon. Serving as the team’s final community event of the year, the entire 66ers squad visited the non-profit organization to assist in horticulture projects in honor of NBA D-League Green Week.

A New Leaf Inc.’s mission is to provide individuals with developmental disabilities with life skills, marketable job training through horticultural therapy, community-based vocational placement, and residential services to increase their independence and individual choices. Horticulture therapy is the key element of A New Leaf’s mission as the program offers clients a well-rounded environment to learn marketable job skills and become a productive member of society.

Half of the team assisted clients in transplanting plants and plugs to larger pots while the other members of the 66ers helped paint benches and posts for A New Leaf’s outdoor display.

"It meant so much to our clients to get to work alongside the players,” said Mary Ogle, CEO of A New Leaf. “Our clients do not get a lot of opportunities to work with people that they look up to like the 66ers, so this was a great experience for them. More importantly, when individuals with developmental disabilities work with individuals that do not have disabilities, they become more independent."

Not only was the outing a great opportunity for A New Leaf’s clients, but for the 66ers players as well.

“It’s great to give back to the people of Tulsa,” said Tulsa guard Isaiah Wilkerson. “The city has given us so much support that it’s our duty and pleasure to support them right back. We’re all happy to be here today working this organization, it was a great experience working our here and getting to put a smile on people’s faces.”

NBA D-League Green Week is a league-wide initiative of teams and players taking steps to be more environmentally friendly. Throughout the week the NBA D-League highlights league, team and player environmental initiatives including in-arena awareness nights, recycling programs, hands-on service projects and educational curriculum.

Giving back to the community serves as one of the core principles of the 66ers organization. The Tulsa players took part in over 15 community events this season, including three all-team events. For a look at some of Tulsa’s other community outreach initiatives from the 2013-14 season, click here.