Tuesday September 21, 2010 11:19 AM

Red Nation Lends a Hand

Rockets staff performs community service at the Center

Story contributed by Nick Hetherington

HOUSTON - Yao Ming isn't the only one working hard in the scorching days of Houston's summer heat to get ready for the upcoming 2010 NBA season. Houston Rockets staff members eagerly gathered together for a two-day community service project at The Center. Painting rooms and landscaping various areas around the property, Rockets staff provided much needed assistance to a group that already gives so much back through their mission.

The Center serves individuals with developmental disabilities and provides services for more than 750 adults with mental retardation and other disabilities. It offers a wide range of programs including education, vocational training and job placement services, as well as three different residential options.

Residents greeted the staff with high fives, a few hugs, and most importantly by proudly displaying their Rockets apparel.

The organization has been synonymous with giving back to the community, especially since Leslie Alexander took over as the owner in 1993. Alexander has devoted his efforts to building champions on the court and in the community. Through the Clutch City Foundation, Grassroots Basketball, Tux & Tennies, and various educational programs, the Rockets are at the forefront of the NBA in not only giving back to its local community, but worldwide. Since it began in 1995, the Clutch City Foundation has raised more than $8 million, impacting the lives of the citizens in the Greater Houston area, as well as helping others globally, including in China and Africa.

As the Rockets promote their 2010 slogan, "Red Rising," one thing is definite; through numerous service projects players and staff will participate in this upcoming season, dreams will be fulfilled and smiles will also rise throughout the Houston community and beyond.