2009-10 Lakers Reading and Learning Center

With their 31st trip to the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers earned more than just a chance at a 16th NBA Championship, they also earned a special make-over for the Salvation Army Los Angeles Red Shield Youth and Community Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Red Shield, as it is known, is the site of the 15th Lakers Reading and Learning Center. NBA Cares, State Farm Insurance, Hewlett Packard and the Lakers Youth Foundation all combined resources to turn the youth library and computer lab of the Red Shield into a Lakers oasis. Like the other 14 Lakers Reading & Learning Centers located throughout Los Angeles and Hawaii, the Red Shield’s space received major renovations, including: new paint, Lakers wall graphics, framed pictures, 12 new computers, furniture, and books. The updated space will provide the youth members of the Red Shield with a safe place to do homework and explore other educational interests.

On Friday, June 4th, the Lakers and the NBA brought out their best and brightest to dedicate the newest Lakers Reading and Learning Center. Among the attendees were NBA Commissioner David Stern, Lakers Executive VP Jeanie Buss, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, Lakers Legends James Worthy, AC Green, Jamaal Wilkes, and Norm Nixon, current Lakers players Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic, Shannon Brown, and Josh Powell and the Laker Girls.

The dedication ceremony was highlighted by a speech from Derek Fisher to the 125 Red Shield youth in attendance. Fisher implored the youth to enjoy the new Lakers Reading and Learning Center and to view the gift as evidence that the adults in their lives support their pursuits. He further encouraged the youth to set goals and never allow others to limit their dreams.

Following the speeches, the NBA representatives and Lakers visited the newly renovated youth library and computer lab, filled with Lakers colors and new amenities. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the visitors explored the new space with the children. Derek Fisher read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to a group of children, while Sasha Vujacic, Josh Powell, and AC Green played board games with other children at the new activity tables. In the youth computer lab, Shannon Brown, James Worthy, and the Laker Girls helped children play computer games.

The Lakers and the NBA hope that the children of the Salvation Army Los Angeles Red Shield Youth and Community Center enjoy their new Lakers Reading and Learning Center for many years to come. The Lakers want to give special thanks to Red Shield director, Irene Lewis for her dedication to the youth of her club, and for her hospitality and assistance during the event.