Harris Presents 'Game Changers' Panel for West Philadelphia Girls

by Lauren Rosen

In six short weeks as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, Tobias Harris has been making an impact both on and off the court.

Thursday at the Shepard Recreation Center in West Philadelphia, he hosted a panel of inspirational and powerful women from the Philadelphia community that addressed a group of 40 middle school aged girls.

Entitled Game Changers: Women in Sports, Tech & Literacy, the event featured West Philadelphia natives Maya Francis, a national writer, editor, and contributor for CNN; and Kiera Smalls, the Executive Director of Philly Startup Leaders; plus familiar faces Serena Winters, from NBC Sports Philadelphia, and Ivana Seric, one of the 76ers’ data scientists.

With National Reading Month and Women’s History Month serving as its backdrop, the Harris-led discussion included advice about academic success, finding mentors, overcoming adversity, and pursuing one’s passions.

“It was a great atmosphere and a great experience,” Harris said. “I was in awe up there, just listening.”

In putting Thursday’s program together, Harris partnered with Team Up Philly, an organization specializing in character building and holistic support of young women in Philadelphia.

“I hope that what [the girls] get out of this is the stories of dedication, and perseverance, and following your dreams,” Seric said.

Upon completion of the panel, attendees received a book - Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History by Molly Schiot - and drawstring backpack, gifts courtesy of Harris.

More than anything else, the new 76er hoped his guests took with them the following message:

“Education has to be first. You have to keep on empowering that.”

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