(L-R) Wendy Raquel Robinson, George Weaver, Coach Jim Clemons,
Brian White and Charisse Bremond Weaver
It’s The Network
Verizon, The Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation And Nielsen Join A Host Of Brotherhood Crusade Corporate And Collaborative Partners And NBA Legends In Bringing A Once In A Lifetime Experience To South Los Angeles YouthÂ
South Los Angeles middle and high school students rank worse in the state of California and among the worse in the nation in science and math academic proficiency. This, at a time when it is predicted that greater than 70 percent of the jobs that will be in demand in the future will involve some form of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).
Concerned about the plight of South Los Angeles youth, the Verizon Foundation, the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation, and Nielsen Company partnered with Brotherhood Crusade and several of the organization’s other collaborative partners to host the 5th Annual Brotherhood Crusade Jim Cleamons Books and Basketball Camp the week of August 24-28, 2009. This incredible event provided 100 9-15 year old youth with an opportunity to engage in a dream experience that taught fascinating principles of math and science, financial education, social and personal life skills development, health and nutrition, chess, etiquette, and of course, basketball.
A significant highlight of the camp was a $35,000.00 check presentation on Wednesday, August 26, 2009, by Ms. Asia Powell of the Verizon Foundation. The purpose of the contribution was to assist Brotherhood Crusade’s continued efforts to effectuate STEM-based programming designed to reverse the persistent failure of South Los Angeles students in math and science; facilitate their enrollment in and completion of post-secondary pursuits; and reverse the strong influence of South Los Angeles’ culture that creates an environment that strongly discourages success in school and in life.
“We are eternally grateful that Verizon has recognized the quality and impact of our work and elected to partner with us in effectuating the changes necessary to make a difference in our community,” said President and CEO Charisse Bremond Weaver. “The combination of their professional assistance, resources, and financial support will enable children and youth from environments where gang influence is stronger than academic success to benefit from highly-effective programming that provides hope, creates meaningful change, and significantly improves quality of life.
Verizon’s support extends well beyond cask assistance. I am most touched by the support provided from key Verizon personnel including Ms. Asia Powell, Ms. Felicia Hudson, and Ms. Elva Lima. I am also enthralled with other Verizon resources such as Thinkfinity.org, which served as the basis for the college-level homework required of camp participants daily.”
“It’s the Network!!!” said ABA/NBA legend and camp co-founder James Jones. “I know it sounds like a clichÅ½, but Brotherhood Crusade has assembled strong and dedicated community partners like the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation, Verizon, Nielsen, Southwest Airlines, Microsoft, The Gas Company, Wal-Mart, Nestle, KTLA, Wells Fargo, Southern California Edison, Wachovia, Northrop Grumman, Fox, the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Los Angeles Times, Bank of America, NBC4, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, CalGRIP, and the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development to help provide resources to meet the unmet needs of the community.”
This year’s Books and Basketball Camp featured daily hands-on science experiments taught by the California Science Center and AMAN (including dissection), financial education taught by Wells Fargo and Wachovia, life skills taught by the Center for the Empowerment of Families and Bobby Porter, and interactive chess taught by Chess Tutors.
Keynote speakers included Markina Brown, meteorologist for KTLA; Actor William Allen Young; Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson (Steve Harvey Show and The Game); Actor Brian White (Stomp the Yard and I Can Do Bad All By Myself); Tracey Sydnor, Human Resource Generalist, and Rosemery Portillo, Public Affairs Coordinator, from Nielsen Company; and Marlissa Collier, intern, and Kim Freeman, Public Affairs Officer, from The Gas Company.
Camp participants were also treated to an all-star line-up of coaches including basketball legends Lynette Woodard (Basketball Hall of Fame), Craig Hodges, Ricky Sobers, Louie Nelson, Eric Money, Aaron James, Bobby Porter, Mitch Riggs, Ahmad Aliyy, Caroline Dawson, Holli Omurri, Taylor Bakewell, James Jones and Jim Cleamons; NBA referee Derek Richardson; University of Portland star BJ Porter; and NFL greats Ron Brown and Howard Stevens.
As an added bonus, Nielson donated backpacks, assorted gifts, and Barnes and Noble gift cards to every camp participant as well as two laptop computers with printers and two iPods to the participants whose homework, classroom participation, and overall disposition was exemplary.
“The cost of discipline is always better than the pain of regret. We gave these young people the idea of discipline so that they won’t have to look back and have any regrets” said Coach Ahmad Aliyy.
Coach Howard Stevens added, “This was an absolutely enriching experience. As you live life, you take for granted what is going on. There are lot of people out there who just need a little encouragement to realize their dreams and goals. I think this is what we did this week.”
Coach Louie Nelson, who was recently, inducted into the University of Washington Hall of Fame, stated, “I thought the experience was excellent. The kids learned a lot about life. Often we don’t realize that basketball is about more than the game. It also develops character, discipline, camaraderie, friendships and relationships.”
Perhaps the most insightful quote, however, came from one of the camp participants who asked, “Can we do this every day?”
In the past two years, Brotherhood Crusade has improved the academic proficiency of youth participating in their youth development programs by 168 percent on average. Simultaneously, these youth have demonstrated significant socio-behavioral improvements. The organization attributes this success to the ongoing support provided by the Verizon Foundation, Nielson, the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation and all of the community partners mentioned above.
“I am honored to have such strong and committed partners,” said Bremond. “Our corporate partners raise the bar when it comes to corporate philanthropy. Their commitment is evident from the moment you meet any of their representatives.”
The Brotherhood Crusade is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution founded in 1968 to provide necessary resources, program services and a voice of advocacy to traditionally underserved communities. Their mission is to remove and/or help individuals overcome the barriers that deter their pursuit of success and facilitate opportunities for a better quality of life, by promoting health and wellness, enhancing educational opportunities, cultivating economic growth and building community agencies and institutions. If you would like to make a contribution to the Brotherhood Crusade, please send your tax-deductible gift to:
200 East Slauson Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90011