Celtics, BPS Show Commitment to My Brother's Keeper Initiative

MATTAPAN, Mass. - In February, President Obama and the White House announced the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which aims to address the persisting opportunity gaps faced by boys of color and aims to ensure that all young men reach their full potential.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) made a five-year commitment to support the initiative.

On Thursday, the Boston Celtics teamed up with the US Department of Education, Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the NBA to spotlight Boston’s commitment to the initiative and the longstanding partnership between the Celtics and BPS.

Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green, team president Rich Gotham, U.S. secretary of education Arne Duncan, superintendent John McDonough, reverend Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Celtics legend Dana Barros and NBA legend Bob Lanier were all in attendance to partake in the two-part celebration.

To start the event off, each VIP led a group of students from the Ten Boys Initiative in a breakout session focused on overcoming everyday obstacles. The guided discussion concentrated on five key elements – leadership, education, teamwork, decision making, and empowerment.

Through conversations, the young men from across Boston brought a unique outlook to the table based on their everyday experiences in their neighborhoods, schools and social circles.

Following the breakout session, the group circled up to share the key takeaway from their discussions.

“Empowerment is strength from within yourself,” reported a student from Brighton High School. “If you fall down, get back up and continue to reach for your goals.”

The evening continued in the school auditorium for a town hall-style forum.

BPS administrator, teachers, key stakeholders, parents and students all filed into their seats for a chance to hear from the prestigious VIP panel comprised of both national and local leaders in urban education, role players in sport philanthropy, and a peer leader from Burke High School.

Executive director of the Ten Boys Initiative, Dr. Carroll Blake, led the panel discussion posing questions to each panelist around the importance of education, mentorship and corporate support of the public education system.

Green shared a personal account of being the first to graduate college in his family despite unforeseen obstacles.

“I entered the NBA Draft after my junior year at Georgetown University,” he said. “Once in the NBA I would take classes during the offseason to continue my education. During the lockout in 2011, I re-enrolled in school. When the season started back up, I was informed that I needed heart surgery after a routine physical. During recovery, I completed my classes and walked at graduation.”

As the crowd gave Green a round of applause, Blake posed a question to Secretary Duncan on why the White House chose Boston to tip-off the NBA rollout.

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