On the corner of 107th and Main Street in Watts, CA, a community plagued with poverty and marred by violence, 107th Street Elementary School has a vision to be an oasis for students and their families, according to the school’s principal Katherine Nelson. The L.A. Clippers Foundation, along with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley and the Yael and Scooter Braun Family Foundation unveiled a new playground at 107th Street Elementary School to help make that vision a reality.
“The vision will be that kids are not just here before school and at recess, but that this will ultimately become a hub for the community to have a safe space to grow and to play and really just to enjoy,” said Nelson.
Four months ago, during a book drive, Nelson shared with donors her goal of bringing a soccer field for her students to play on. When Clippers season ticket holders Yael and her husband Scooter Braun,- who is the founder of SB Projects and manages popular musical artists including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and The Black Eyed Peas – found out about Nelson’s goal, they took matters into their own network.
“It’s an actual incredible story about folks working together,” remarked Nelson.
On her birthday, Yael Braun started a GoFundMe Page, a platform that allows people to raise money for events ranging from life events to challenging circumstances. Her wish was to give 107th Street Elementary School a new playground. The Brauns put up their own money as well as shared the page with a high-profile network of friends to raise the funds.
“We are really lucky, without community and taking care of one another not much gets done and so I wanted to use my platform for good,” said Braun.
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, who has been sidelined by injury for the vast majority of the season, came across the GoFundMe page and urged the Clippers to get involved.
Beverley first visited 107th Street elementary school with the Clippers in September of 2017. He then hosted a backpack giveaway for students in November.
“No matter what school you go to, what area your from, no matter if people say the statistics are against you whatever the clichés [or] myths might be, anything is possible,” Beverley aid. “I’m coming from inner-city Chicago.”
Beverley brought with him Clippers’ teammates Lou Williams, Willie Reed and Milos Teodosic.
“They just played last night. We lost last night. We have a tough game tomorrow; that shows you a lot about our team,” Beverley said of his teammates. “We’re real close; we do a lot of things together and I appreciate that support.”
Clippers center Reed was there with his family to interact with the students and connect with the Los Angeles community.
“[Patrick] wanted to make a difference, change some lives and I’m happy that he chose us to be a part of it,” said Reed.
“I felt extremely happy because it was my first time seeing a professional basketball player,” said third grader Damien Morris.
The renovations include a grass soccer field and mini park, a resurfaced blacktop for the playground and basketball courts, and new basketball rims.