Community Leak blog
Community Relations Coordinator, Latria Leak is entering her sixth season with the Orlando Magic. Drafted from the University of Florida in the Magic’s Human Resources first round, Leak joins the virtual world with a unique, vibrant personality guaranteed to get you fired up, bring out your emotions or simply have you begging for mercy (you’ll see in future posts)! The Community Leak will provide a specific focus on the Magic’s community initiatives giving fans an exclusive, inside scoop on Magic staff, players and their foundations, and coaches volunteer efforts in the community. Sit back, relax, and prepare for legendary as Latria takes you outside the perimeter, off the court and into the community.
September 10, 2012
A Nugget a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!
Healthy 100 Grilled Chicken Nugget Launch
Have you ever stopped to think about the hectic lifestyle of today's 10-year old? The day-to-day life of the modern fourth grader is filled with soccer games, dentist appointments, and the occasional afternoon nap. With all of these activities in mind it's hard to ensure that these little CEOs receive a hearty and nutritious meal. Thanks to Chick-fil-A, the Orlando Magic, and Florida Hospital, parents and their children can now enjoy the heartiness of a healthy on-the-go meal without sacrificing convenience.
Chick-fil-A launched its new grilled chicken nuggets on Monday in Maitland and received the Healthy 100 campaign stamp of approval by Florida Hospital as well the Magic. All three organizations have partnered together to raise awareness on the issue of health and nutrition in our communities. This move towards healthier eating options comes not a nugget too late as Florida Hospital reports that one in three children in Orange County are diagnosed as overweight or obese. This is an especially important endeavor for the Magic as youth health and wellness is one of its three community focus areas. Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw were joined by Magic mascot, Stuff, Magic dancers, and the Chick-fil-A cow to deliver the grilled nuggets with a side of FUN to some very happy customers.
Linda Landman Gonzalez, vice president of community relations and government affairs for the Magic shared her supportive sentiments on the new grilled chicken health initiative. As a mother of two grown daughters, Gonzalez knows all about managing busy schedules and the task of trying to find healthy dining options for little ones. Finally, the search is over for all the parents out there who lead an on-the-go lifestyle. When the going gets rough and finding a suitable dining option seems tough, we can grab the Chick-fil-A grilled chicken nuggets because they're full of healthy stuff!
So now, the little CEOs of the world can eat a healthy and nutritious meal as they journey to their four o'clock play date!Follow us on twitter @CommunityLeak or email us at CommunityLeak@orlandomagic.com
June 22, 2011
Summertime brings happiness to many of our staff members (Whoo hoo, summer hours!), but to others it means an incredible experience is coming to an end. At the end of this month, our season interns will venture out into the world of sports to begin their careers as full-time employees or continue their academic endeavors. Orlando Magic Intern, Rob Agusta, joined the community relations team this past November to run our donations and player ticket program. Rob also helped facilitate our Blessings in a Backpack program in which he wishes to tell you all about! “Rob”servation…Take one…..
As a basketball team manager, I filled up hundreds of water bottles during my four years at Stetson University. Although I know this effort greatly contributed to our stellar on-court performance (slight exaggeration), it still does not compare to the satisfaction of filling backpacks for children who need it the most. Through the generosity of Dwight Howard, Blessings in a Backpack provides children from Lake Como and Kaley Elementary with food to take home every weekend. Packing day is always a blast! Every week Magic staff volunteers enter a room with mountains of apple sauce, oatmeal, juice, and more ramen noodles than there are on a college campus! It is a very intimidating sight, but we work like a well-oiled machine, and with the help of dedicated school staff, and some terrific student volunteers, the backpacks are filled and sorted less than an hour later. The children and staff always bring an energy and playfulness to packing that is inspiring. It is sad to see the program finish with the school year, however, it is rewarding to know that a little time out of my day made a big difference in some children’s lives. To see images, click on the photo . Follow us on twitter @CommunityLeak or email us at CommunityLeak@orlandomagic.com
For information on “Summer Break Spots’ a summer nutrition program for kids & teens, visit www.summerfoodflorida.org or call 211.
June 2, 2011
Howard Chats With Community Leak
The name Dwight Howard comes with many career accolades. Some of you may know him as the NBA’s three-time defensive player of the year or a five-time NBA All-Star. Off the court, his identity carries the same weight. Our team knows him as the five-time winner of the Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award and winner of the NBA’s Community Assist Award in recognition of his extraordinary efforts in the community. A force both on and off the court, he has consistently given time and support to children and families in Central Florida. When it comes to the community, Dwight never has an off-season. Dwight recently launched the D12 Foundation in February and has a very exciting bowling tournament coming up. Click on the video to learn about Dwight’s new foundation and watch Dwight’s new bowling techniques! Follow us @CommunityLeak or e-mail CommunityLeak@olandomagic.com
WATCH HOWARD'S COMMUNITY INTERVIEW | D12 BOWLING PACKET
May 11, 2011
Asian American Heritage Celebration
Ni Hao! This month our entire organization is celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month! Can you tell me who was the first Asian-American to play in the NBA? My generation might answer Yao Ming. In fact, it was actually a 5’7 guard by the name of Wataru Misaka. Misaka was selected by the New York Knicks in the 1947 draft becoming the first non-caucasion to play in the NBA (then known as Basketball Association of America). Other Asian-American players emerged such as Raymond Townsend and Jeremy Lin who spent time playing for the Golden State Warriors. Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra made headlines becoming the first Filipino-American NBA head coach in 2008. As much as I’d rather not make ANY reference to the Heat, he’s definitely a trailblazer who has set the path for Asian-Pacific Americans to accomplish remarkable things in sports. Throughout the month, our staff will engage in trivia questions about Asian-American History for an opportunity to win great prizes as well as attend company-sponsored events. Yesterday, we attended the Asian-American Heritage Kickoff Celebration at Orlando City Hall. A night filled with great entertainment, I felt a true immersion into the Asian culture. Click on the photos to view images or video from the event. Follow me on twitter here or e-mail me at CommunityLeak@orlandomagic.com.
May 2, 2011
18th Annual Hispanic Business and Consumer Expo
The Orlando Magic served as Gold Sponsors of the 18th Annual Hispanic Business and Consumer Expo this past weekend! Orlando Magic Team President Alex Martins was named honorary chair of the event and was a featured speaker at the Expo Luncheon on Friday. Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw and the Magic Dancers signed autographs and took photos throughout the weekend. Exhibit attendees received EL Magic business card holders and stickers including ticket sales and Orlando Magic Basketball Camp information. With more than 30,000 attendees in the past two years, the Hispanic Business & Consumer Expo is recognized as the largest business expo targeting the Hispanic market in the nation. To see photos from the event, click here.
April 27, 2011
Bo Outlaw Goes on a Magical Journey
Orlando Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw loves to make a grand entrance. Normally in a nice, clean suit or a Magic polo and slacks. This time Bo appeared wearing an African Dashiki. Where did this come from? Bo has experienced a lot of journeys in basketball and education. This year, he’s ventured into the arts. The Orlando Magic Journey to the Arts program is dedicated to providing students access to the arts by expanding partnerships with Title 1 schools, coordinating cultural and arts experiences, and opening doors to new cultures. Our wonderful community relations intern Melanie Diaz took part in this exciting journey and shares her perspective of how the day went. Welcome to the blog, Mel! Listen up….
Recently, the Orlando Magic visited Mollie Ray Elementary School and transformed their cafeteria into a cultural arts experience by bringing the colorful and lively performance of Orisi-Risi African Folklore, a performing arts company that shares the beauty of African life and culture through storytelling and drumming. The performance opened with a welcome song that got all the children up on their feet dancing and singing along. Following the opening number, the lead storyteller of the Orisi-Risi group shared the story of the Dog and Turtle and explained the underlying moral of respecting elders, being truthful, and being selfless. The group went on to give an explanation of the many drums set up on stage and how each makes one of three different sounds when hit certain ways: base, tone, and slap. Outlaw was there to join the fun as he took to the stage to play the largest of all the drums, the Djimbay Drum. Twelve select students from different grades joined Outlaw and the Orisi-Risi group on stage as they performed a closing number that filled the cafeteria with an explosion of energy and rhythm. As the drums came to a thunderous halt, the lead storyteller closed with a final quote to remember, “The only time you look down on someone is when you’re bending over to pick them up.”
I love that quote! To see Bo’s journey to the arts and his new African Dashiki, click here. Follow me on twitter @Community Leak or email me at CommunityLeak@orlandomagic.com
March 28, 2011
Building Good Habits
Just as the Magic continues to build a legendary franchise and team on the court, off the court we are equally committed to building the community. And I literally mean “building”. Before joining the Magic staff, I related the term Kaboom to an explosion or a loud crash in some Looney Tunes cartoon. Now it’s one of my favorite terms for two “magical” reasons. Reason one…it’s a positive new trend benefiting children. Reason number two…our entire office shuts down for the day and we start our weekends early! So what is Kaboom? KaBOOM! is the national, non-profit dedicated to saving play so kids remain active and healthy. This upcoming Friday, we are partnering with KaBOOM! to build our seventh playground, providing a safe place for local children to play at the Maitland Oaks Apartments. So I’ll be working on my “other duties assigned” this Friday with the best co-workers in the world of sports! Now, this isn’t the only build activity for us this year. On March 28, Bo Outlaw and 20 Magic volunteers took their good habits to Pine Hills to build a home for a few deserving families in partnership with Orlando’s Habitat for Humanity. Since 1976, over 400,000 homes have been built around the world through the Habitat for Humanity program. Magic volunteers arrived on the construction site ready to build just before the morning rush hour. The day began with a brief exercise, sharing our favorite gift as a kid. Magic volunteer, Kristyn Rogers, reflected on an extravagant Barbie House her dad actually hand-built for her. I thought this was very profound as Kristyn was getting ready to do what her dad did for her, for a family she’s never met. The homes are built energy efficient and are affordable for low-income, hardworking families in the area. This is our third home we’ve built as an organization and I’m looking forward to next year. Click on the photo to view images from last year’s Kaboom and our Habitat build.
March 14, 2011
Orlando All-Star Preview
How many of you are excited about NBA All-Star coming to Orlando? Well this past weekend, I got a little taste of what All-Star weekend in Orlando would feel like. I attended the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) All-Star High School Basketball Classic. Of course, the event was on a much smaller scale in comparison to the NBA, but attracted some of the top-talented high school basketball athletes in Orange County. Over 600 spectators came out to watch the girls and boys basketball games featuring celebrity coaches Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw. The All-Star Classic featured a “blue” and “white” team sponsored by Bright House Networks and McDonald’s respectively. Nick’s “white” team won the girls game and Bo’s “blue” team made a valiant comeback to win the boys game. The Magic and 102 JAMZ surprised the crowd with prize giveaways for the fans and a dazzling performance by the Orlando Magic Drumline. This All-Star Classic, sponsored by the Orlando Magic, is held annually on the second Saturday in March so mark your calendars now. I must say the boys slam dunk contest was the highlight of the night. Jordan Clark, a Wekiva High School senior, took the slam competition to the next level adding a prop that illuminated the crowd and celebrity judges! Click here to see what prop he used and more photos from the event!
WATCH VIDEO FROM EVENT>>>
March 9, 2011
The Orlando Magic Unveils Ninth Reading and Learning Center
Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan has always believed in providing countless opportunities for underprivileged youth in her district. Yesterday the Orlando Magic helped turn her beliefs into a sheer reality. On Wednesday, March 2 the Magic unveiled a new state-of-the-art Reading and Learning Center for youth at the Colonialtown Neighborhood Center. The newly renovated Orlando Magic Reading and Learning Center presented by Kia Motors features a computer lab with new desks, reading books, book shelves, and arts and crafts materials for after-school projects. Children from the center were also surprised with a game room equipped with two flat screen tvs, Wii console, a pool table, and much more.
Orlando Magic leadership, representatives from Kia Motors and Turner Construction as well as Mayor Dyer and Commissioner Sheehan eyes grew large in excitement as they watched the kids play with their new home. Through our Magic Volunteer Program (MVP), about 15 volunteers came in the week before the unveiling to assemble all the furniture in both the computer lab and game room. The volunteers completed the assemply in about two hours and headed back to our offices to complete their work day.
This renovation reflects the Magic’s commitment to the advancement of literacy in Orlando, one of the organization’s three charitable focus areas, along with health/wellness and the arts. The center is really amazing. I think the coolest addition was the “Let’s Dance” Wii game in where the kids showcased their dance moves. Click on the photo album to see them work the dance floor and as photos of the newly renovated center.
February 10, 2011
Blessings in a Backpack
Dwight Howard made a special surprise visit to Lake Como elementary today. Want to know why? Check out Orlandomagic.com’s John Denton’s feature article here to find out how Dwight spent his day off from practice.
January 21, 2011
Ryan Anderson takes a story time out
According to the U.S. Department of Education, did you know about 80 percent of preschool and after-school programs serving at-risk children do not have any access to books? And that 61 percent of low-income families have no children’s books in their homes. This is a serious problem affecting our youth. So serious, that the Orlando Magic has developed a creative and fun program to address literacy and education in Central Florida. The Magic along with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida teamed up to develop lifelong learners through the new Baskets for Books Program! For every point made by the Orlando Magic at every home game, one book is donated to the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County. To date, 2,248 books have been donated (through the Jan. 21 home game) to the Early Learning Coalition. Based on last year’s points, approximately 4,000 books will be donated. Magic forward Ryan Anderson and Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw kicked off the program with a “storytime” for local preschool children. Now remember, the program technically allows players to determine how many books are donated based on the baskets scored during home games. So this means that all Magic fans are “required” to scream loud and root your home team on as they strive to be champions on and off the court. Who would have ever thought that rooting for your team in a game of basketball was actually an act of service? Only in Orlando, where “caring” happens. Click on the video to see how local children reacted to Ryan and Bo’s reading skills.
January 11, 2011
Cooking Up A Community
Preparing a healthy meal for your family every night is always a challenge when you are balancing work, kids, pets, or simply staying in shape. Imagine preparing a meal for 50 people on a daily basis. Sounds like a huge undertaking right? Well the Ronald McDonald House Share-A-Meal Program does exactly that. The Ronald McDonald House is a "home-away-from-home" for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at local hospitals. The goal of the program is to provide a meal for families every night of the week. Yesterday, Magic staff members helped towards that goal by putting on their chef's hats to prepare dinner as a group. Twelve staff members signed up through our Magic Volunteer Program (MVP) and arrived at the Florida Hospital RMH campus during the start of rush hour traffic. The magical recipe of the night was baked ziti, garden salad, garlic bread, and an ice cream bar. Community Ambassadors Bo Outlaw and Nick Anderson, STUFF, and the Magic Dancers were all in attendance to help us provide extra comfort to the residents. The Magic sponsored the meal and the project had a powerful effect on many, especially Magic staff member, Andrew Herdliska. "It makes me feel grateful for what I have. There is always a lot of people who need help and to be able to provide it makes me feel good."
January 6, 2011
Can I have Your Autograph?
Annually, we receive hundreds of donation requests from Central Florida non-profit organizations soliciting auction items to aid in their fundraising efforts. The community relations team hosts two internal team autograph sessions to collect memorabilia to distribute through our donation program. During the session, players and coaches sign basketballs, posters, and other magic memorabilia. Since July 2010, we’ve donated memorabilia valued at over $350,000 into the Central Florida community.
This year over 800 items were included in the team autograph session which took place earlier this week. The community relations (CR) team actually planned the session and I want to give you an inside look at how much work actually goes into executing this event. CR team members, Robyn Guokas, Rob Agusta and I spent an entire day blowing up basketballs and organized items to be signed. The day of the session, we arrived at Amway at 6:00a.m. to get the balls set up before the players arrived for practice. With the help of our Magic staff through our Magic Volunteer Program (MVP), we were ready for players to begin signing at 8:30a.m. Coach Stan Van Gundy was the first to enter after his morning workout. He actually has the most recognizable signature as he strives for perfection not only on the court, but marking basketballs. Jason Williams, J.J. Redick, and Patrick Ewing are tied for a signing record, completing all 800 items in 30 minutes or less. Big guys, Dwight and Orton are neck and neck for the record of taking the longest to sign. After Dwight finished, we broke up the various allotments between departments. The toughest part was transporting the balls upstairs to our storage. Let’s just say we are now looking for donations for massages…any takers? To see exclusive session photos, click on the photo.
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January 4, 2011
There are many special moments in our personal lives that we can all look back and reflect on. These same special moments also exist in sports. For many, it’s raising a world championship trophy after a hard-fought season or being inducted as a prominent figure in the prestigious Hall of Fame. A few weeks ago, I watched a video of a different type of special moment that brought tears to my eyes. A local Tampa team crafted a new definition of what makes a moment special. Bryane Heaberlin, 16, lives nearby in Tampa and plays for the U.S under-17 soccer team. In March of last year, the U.S. team was set to play the Haitian team for a chance to qualify for the World Cup. The match took place a few months after a massive earthquake struck Haiti and left thousands homeless including families of the Haitian team. The U.S team defeated the Haitian team 9-0 crushing the Haitians dreams of playing in the World Cup. The tough loss caused the Haitian goalie to fall to the ground in tears. Bryane walked over to the goalie and from there we saw a special moment that captured the hearts of millions around the world. She embraced the goalie and the entire U.S team ran over to comfort the goalie. We recently recognized Bryane for her good sportsmanship during an on court presentation as well hosting her and her family for dinner prior to tip-off. I had the opportunity to host Bryane and her family during the special night and she is a fun-loving individual with a bright future. Bryane founded “The Many Hearts, One Goal” organization to help the Haitian Girl’s soccer team. Because of her fundraising efforts, the Haitian team was able to travel to a training camp and play in the Disney Cup International Youth Tournament this past summer in Orlando. This is a pretty amazing accomplishment for a teenager with a large heart. Bryane’s act of sportsmanship received national attention from media outlets all around the world.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
December 21, 2010
Santa’s Helpers Busy Making Magic
The Orlando Magic staff adopted over 60 children from the Harbor House of Central Florida to celebrate the holiday season! Magic staffers spent their personal time shopping and wrapping gifts despite their hectic work schedules. I am amazed at how dedicated our staff has been over the years. I caught up with Ticket Sales Representative, Kellie Foltz, to talk about her participation in the adoption tree. “It’s something that I’ve always done as a kid. As I’ve gotten older, it has become a tradition for me to adopt a child and give to somebody else,” says Foltz. Magic community ambassadors, Stuff, and dancers made the surprise delivery yesterday.
December 19, 2010
Magic Players and Coaching Staff Host Holiday Party for Children
Orlando Magic players and coaches hosted 55 families from the New Image Youth Center in Parramore to a holiday party at Amway Center. The players, coaches and basketball operations staff spent time with the families playing video games, arts and crafts, snow cones, and train rides. The children’s reaction to the day was phenomenal. Each family also received gifts with a surprise of bikes and scooters for every child! Click on the link to see video footage from the most memorable party!
December 17, 2010
Chris Duhon/PepsiCo Shopping Spree with Local Youth
Magic fans, picture this: You show up to your neighborhood Wal-Mart and there are 50 children anxiously waiting for you to take them shopping. Well that’s exactly what happened to Chris Duhon and Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw yesterday. Pepsico and Chris Duhon teamed up for a Pepsi Refresh shopping spree benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida’s Parramore Branch. Each child was given a $100 Wal-Mart gift card to shop. What a significant contribution to children by Pepsico and the Magic. It made me wish I was young again. Now, I could have totally used one of those gift cards myself! Okay…Okay, just kidding! Just thinking about all the holiday shopping I haven’t done yet.
I arrived at the Wal-Mart on Princeton road a little after 3:00 p.m. to find the community relations team prepping for the shopping spree. Twelve labeled shopping carts lined the front entrance of the store and calculators along with clip boards were placed in each basket. Members of our staff volunteered their time as shopping experts to keep the children within their budget. A uniquely decorated Christmas tree with Orlando Magic candy canes, bulbs, license plates, banners, topped with a Magic hat was a huge hit as customers showed admiration throughout the day. Chris paraded around the store from basket to basket to help children narrow down their top choices. Popular items included Rock Band, Barbie dolls, and mp3 players. The most heartwarming story was Thierry Attis, 17, who didn’t think entirely of his own wish list. He decided he would use some of the gift card to purchase groceries for his family. He has been crowned the Leak Blog Hero of the week.
December 8, 2010
It seems that Santa Clause has a bit of a rival now at the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children.
Brandon Bass cheerfully strolled through the 14th floor of the hospital with his Magic wagon filled with presents to provide a different kind of service to some of the young children. No temperature or blood pressure checks on this visit. Brandon specialized only in smile checks and love-filled conversations. It was warming to see the children’s reaction to Brandon. A girl named Zahira, 5, grew extremely excited when Brandon walked into her room. To see her reaction along with more of Brandon’s visit, click on the photo.
November 25, 2010
Orlando Magic Coalition for the Homeless Thanksgiving Breakfast
For the 18th year, the Orlando Magic staff and volunteers served Thanksgiving breakfast to homeless men, women and children at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy sponsored the meals which fed about 600 Coalition residents. This year residents were in for a treat as they were surprised to receive their morning beverages from star guard, Jameer Nelson.
The event included an open breakfast for Coalition residents and any members of the community who don’t have the means to celebrate Thanksgiving. Panera Bread provided hot chocolate, coffee and cookies. We also entertained children with an outdoor carnival that included STUFF the Magic Mascot, Magic Dancers and music by 102JAMZ. Adults and children were treated to haircuts by Paul Mitchell The School.
Homelessness remains a huge concern in Central Florida as the Coalition provides over 209,000 nights of shelter last year. The Amway Center Grand Opening Gala helped raise $300,000 for the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH) in October. Click here to see photos from the event!
November 24, 2010
Dwight Howard Supports Families in Need
He’s done it again! Dwight Howard provided Thanksgiving meals to over 100 families this year. Families poured into the J.R. Smith Neighborhood center eager to get a glimpse of the star center. Dwight’s donation to the community allowed up to 1000 people to have a meal this holiday. Click on the video for a sneak peak into the event!
November 23, 2010
J.J. Redick Spreads Thanksgiving Spirit
Newly weds J.J. and Chelsea Redick dedicated time and resources to give back to the Central Florida community by sponsoring a turkey giveaway for local residents at the Rosemont Community Center. I typically get extremely excited when the holiday season rolls around. To see J.J. and Chelsea share the same excitement brings cheer not only to my spirit, but to those who really need the help. Click on the get the inside “Leak” on this event!
November 22, 2010
I woke up really early (4:45am that is) this morning for a very special reason. The Orlando Magic Backcourt, which is comprised of Magic players, coaches and basketball operation’s wives, girlfriends and family members, hosted their fourth annual pancake breakfast benefiting residents of Harbor House! Click Here to see sneak peak photos of the wives and Magic staff serve up a tasty breakfast!
November 18, 2010
My mother has always taught me to give back. There’s just something special about being able to help someone. It sends chills through my heart. People want to feel appreciated and celebrated. November is the month of Thanksgiving. Many people celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with their families and enjoying a delicious feast on Thanksgiving day. Thanksgiving started early for me as an employee of the Orlando Magic family. On November 4, I joined Chris Duhon and his Standing Tall Foundation team as they kicked off a food drive benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank.
You could literally impact someone’s life with so many special memories. So start giving early this month and I’ll tell you where to start. The Orlando Magic Backcourt, which is comprised of Magic players, coaches and basketball operation’s wives, girlfriends and family members, will be hosting a food drive benefiting the Harbor House of Central Florida this Thursday, November 18. Magic Backcourt members will be outside Amway Center to collect donation items at Fan Fest located on Church Street. Harbor House provides shelter, food, and other basic necessities to domestic violence survivors and their children. So what can you bring? Let’s see…any non-perishable food (canned meat and soup), paper products (Paper towels, toilet paper, tissue) and cleaning supplies (Bleach, Fabuloso, Windex).
See you there!
November 16, 2010
Duhon Stands Tall Against Hunger
When it comes to contributing to the community, Magic point guard Chris Duhon is no stranger. In 2003, Chris started the Chris Duhon’s Stand Tall Foundation whose mission is to take advantage of opportunities to contribute to the quality of a child’s life through recreation, education, and welfare. The foundation has provided assistance and resources to children in Chris’ hometown of Sidell, La., Chicago, Ill., and now Orlando, Fla. On November 4, The Stand Tall Foundation partnered with FAIRWINDS Credit Union and the Orlando Magic in a food drive to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. Click on the video to see more of Chris’s efforts.
October 28, 2010
Many of us have wondered what exactly Dwight Howard will venture into outside of basketball. Maybe Acting? How about fitness modeling? Stand-up comedy with Charles Barkley? Well, this past Saturday he revealed to me what could possibly become of his future. There is no doubt he will continue to showcase his skills on the court, however, another skill has surfaced that will be quite entertaining and beneficial.
Mr. Howard is officially a recording artist. That’s right, the man can sing! This past Saturday, Dwight Howard celebrated the debut of his first Album, Shoot for the Stars which launched yesterday from Razor & Tie/KIDZ BOP. The full-length CD includes MVP worthy recordings of popular arena anthems and classic hits, plus the original song, “Shoot For The Stars,” which encourages his young fans to pursue their dreams.
The amazing story in the Shoot for the Stars Album is not the fact that Dwight can hold a note, but the fact that he can hold up a community. A portion of the CD’s proceeds will go to BETA Center, a non-profit Central Florida organization whose mission is to provide children and parents with the knowledge and support needed for strong and healthy families.
BETA’s Director of Development, Lisa Blackwelder attended the event and had the opportunity to speak briefly with Dwight about his recording experience and his decision to support BETA’s mission.
“He shared with me all the many things that go into recording an album. How he had to sing soprano, alto, tenor and base. We talked about why he chose BETA Center as the agency that will receive the royalties from the album. His simple response…BETA makes a difference in kids’ lives. It was an easy choice.”
A choice that Dwight has made many times before. He has visited the BETA Center a number of times and provided many of the children the opportunity to experience an NBA basketball game for the first time in their lives by donating Magic home game tickets.
“He has helped our moms and children believe in themselves and their ability to do anything they set their minds to do. He stresses the importance of education and being a good parent,” says Blackwelder.
Dwight continues to make an enormous impact on the Central Florida community and this time, through his music, he will inspire so many to keep it simple and shoot for the stars.
To contact the Community Relations Department please email us at Community@orlandomagic.com.
To view the Orlando Magic's 2009-10 Annual Community Report, click here.