Durant Encouraging Positive Tomorrows
On Friday Durant did just that as he turned around from a grueling back-to-back road trip and visited Positive Tomorrows school in Oklahoma City to surprise some elementary school children. With his Kevin Durant shoes in tow, Durant dropped in on the youngsters, gave them free sneakers, signed autographs and laughed with them.
“It’s always exciting to come out and give back,” Durant said. “It’s the least I can do and I really appreciate being a part of this community. It’s always fun to come back and show I care.”
Each child received a pair of Nike, KD-branded shoes, presents that will go a long way to children who said their old shoes were too small for them. Positive Tomorrows is a non-profit private school that focuses on serving children who are homeless. The curriculum is the same as that in public school, but the classroom at Positive Tomorrows is designed for and the teachers are conscious of the special needs that homeless children have. For kids who are either staying in a shelter or on someone’s couch, a visit like the one on Friday from Durant can go a long way emotionally.
“The kids were delighted, we had a great, great time today,” Positive Tomorrows President Susan Agel said. “Part of what it does, I think is that it shows them something larger outside of their normal experience. It really gives them a chance to see somebody up close, who really, at the base of it all, is just a person, just like anybody else.”
“They get to see that and get to be able to build a little bit of a relationship like that,” Agel continued. “One of the things we work on the hardest is to give our children hope, and that’s part of what they see when we have a visit from somebody like that.”
It wasn’t just the kids who had a great time because of Durant’s presence, but the three-time All NBA selection’s spirits were lifted from the visit as well. The Thunder will be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Miami for its showdown against the Heat, so Durant wanted to get his Christmas celebration started a little early. That started with today’s visit to the school. He joked and interacted with the kids, and truly enjoyed the experience of spending time with Oklahoma City youth.
“Just taking pictures with them and seeing them excited,” Durant said. “That’s the best part for me. We play a game on Christmas, but I think that was probably was one of my best Christmases, just being here seeing these kids.”
The kindness that Durant exudes, his gentleness and the conscientious, caring affect he brings to every social interaction was no more evident than on Friday. From helping the kids put on their sneakers and tying them for them to giving out hugs left and right, the simple, honest love that Durant has for others was obvious. For children living in difficult circumstances, that type of attitude is a great model to learn from and something that Agel believes will help her youngsters.
“For particularly some of our young men, they learn to exude kind of a tough persona,” Agel said. “That’s part of what they need to survive. To be able to see a gentle giant like that come in and talk softly and be mild mannered, that’s really important for the boys.”
For as much as the Oklahoma City community is spurred on by Durant and the Thunder’s performance on the court and attentiveness to the local residents off the court, Durant is similarly impacted by those around him. Seeing children who grow up in truly trying circumstances remain positive, strive to learn every day and be the best they can be only motivates Durant more and more.
“Around this time of year, it’s always about giving,” Durant said. “First of all, I just love being around kids. They inspire me so much. They always have so much faith and I always look up to kids.”