Philadelphia 76ers' SIXERS STRONG Community Outreach Program Celebrates First Anniversary Today
THROUGH EDUCATIONAL AND FITNESS PROGRAMMING ALONE, SIXERS STRONG HAS IMPACTED NEARLY 17,000 CHILDREN
SIXERS PLAYERS, COACHES AND FRONT OFFICE STAFF HAVE COLLECTIVELY DONATED MORE THAN 9,000 HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE IN AND AROUND PHILADELPHIA
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 27, 2014 – The Philadelphia 76ers today celebrate the first anniversary of the team’s SIXERS STRONG community efforts, which are focused exclusively on improving the lives of children in the Philadelphia region.
The program was formally launched on August 27, 2013, when the team held a press conference to announce their community partnership with the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA. They named YMCA employee Ryan Palmer their first Sixers “Heroes Among Us” award winner, and the team hosted an all-staff volunteer event to clean up the playground at the Christian Street YMCA.
“The first year of SIXERS STRONG has been a series of unforgettable moments,” said Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil. “From Kevin Grow signing an honorary contract with our team to watching Michael Carter-Williams host the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Opening Ceremonies, we could not be more pleased with the impact our organization and its partners have made in our region.
“As we head into SIXERS STRONG’s second year, we plan to introduce robust educational and fitness programming, new partnerships and additional initiatives that will help us dig deeper in our local neighborhoods,” continued O’Neil. “We would encourage fans to join the Sixers’ staff in committing their time to help strengthen our children and serve our communities.”
Since the launch of SIXERS STRONG, Sixers players, coaches and front office staff have each committed to 76 hours of community service – totaling more than 9,000 hours – to more than 200 local charities and organizations. Through fitness and educational programming alone, SIXERS STRONG has impacted nearly 17,000 children in the Philadelphia region. The team has also donated more than $125,000 to 41 charitable organizations through the “Heroes Among Us” Award – which is given to a child or adult making a difference in the lives of area children – and 50/50 raffle alone, both of which take place at every Sixers home game.
In the first year of SIXERS STRONG, the team formalized partnerships with Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Police Athletic League and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Additional highlights from SIXERS STRONG’s first year include:
KEVIN GROW SIGNS WITH THE SIXERS: In February, the Sixers signed then-Bensalem High School senior Kevin Grow to a ceremonial two-day contract. Grow, who has Down syndrome, served as his high school basketball team’s manager for four seasons and inspired the nation when he scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers and a buzzer beater, in the team’s final two games of the year. In his second day of the contract, Grow received a custom Sixers jersey and his own spot in the team’s locker room before joining the team in player introductions on the court.
MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS SPEAKS FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS PENNSYLVANIA: Sixers guard Michael Carter-Williams served as the SIXERS STRONG spokesperson for the team’s partnership with Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA), during which he hosted a holiday shopping event for several SOPA athletes and their families and cohosted the Opening Ceremonies for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.
SERVING OUR STARS AND STRIPES: The Sixers hosted Veterans Appreciation Night and First Responders Night last season to honor those serving the nation, and provided tickets for service men and women and their families. The team also hosted a basketball clinic for military children at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst annual picnic, which averages approximately 5,000 attendees.