Bass Hosts Youth at Franklin Park Zoo

Cheers and excitement surrounded Celtics forward Brandon Bass last Wednesday afternoon, but he hadn’t just thrown down another slam dunk, and this was no TD Garden parquet.

Instead, the C’s veteran set aside the basketball and hosted nearly 50 Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston members at the Franklin Park Zoo.

The children joined him in visiting a variety of exhibits, asking questions, and exploring all the park had to offer.

“It’s always a great time for me to come out and spread love with the community that’s shown me so much over the years,” Bass said.

Bass and the children began the visit at the zoo’s Giraffe Terrace where they gathered on a private observation desk and participated in a giraffe feeding.

Later, they stopped by the Aussie Aviary and Tropical Forest Pavilion where they saw Western lowland gorillas, including a new baby gorilla, anteaters and ring-tailed lemurs, before concluding with a ride atop one of the zoo’s two Bactrian camels.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston welcome children of various backgrounds across all communities citywide. For some members, Wednesday’s trip to Franklin Park was the first time they’d ever had an opportunity to visit a zoo.

“Even though a large number of our members live only a short distance from the Franklin Park Zoo, many have never been,” said Josh Kraft, Nicholas President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.

“Through our partnership with the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, we were able to provide our members with a unique opportunity to not only visit the zoo, but also get a once in a lifetime, educational hands-on experience that they will never forget.”

The recent animal escapade wasn’t the first of Bass’ charitable exploits, either.

From encouraging team sportsmanship at Unity Weekend Basketball Tournaments to joining members in learning how to swim, and later hosting a holiday music showcase, Bass has played an active role in giving back to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Boston since joining the Celtics in 2011.

“It is especially meaningful for our kids to have these opportunities alongside Brandon Bass, who they have gotten to know these past few years whether it be visiting the zoo, swimming in the pool or recording songs in the music studio,” Kraft said.

“Brandon’s selflessness is a true reflection of the Boston Celtics organization both on and off the court.”

Accompanied by his wife, Melissa, son, Brandon Jr., and daughter, Bella during last week’s outing, the kindhearted forward was grateful for another chance to make a difference.

“I got the opportunity to bring my family out, also just to get the opportunity to spend time with the kids, put smiles on their faces, hopefully I inspire some to dream big,” Bass said.

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