The new year can be a time of change for many people — gym resolutions, learning new skills or finally reading that book you promised to finish this time last year. The NBA, however, is staying the course in 2019 with its ongoing mission to support positive youth development and other social good initiatives in communities across the globe.
Here are three initiatives the NBA Cares social responsibility program is leading this new year:
With January 1 marking the start of National Mentoring Month, the NBA is teaming up with the organization MENTOR to encourage volunteers to sign up as mentors for at-risk youth around the United States. Helping to recruit 25,000 new mentors for the organization in just one year after establishing the partnership in 2014, the NBA set a new goal in 2016 to recruit 50,000 new mentors. Over the past several years, many NBA players have served as mentors around the country through the initiative, including Kevin Durant, Marcus Smart, Blake Griffin and Aaron Gordon.
Become a mentor in your area by signing up here!
Another way the NBA Cares initiative promotes community involvement around the league is by regularly honoring players who are making a difference in their communities. Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard received the NBA Cares Community Assist Award this past November for his support of local high schools.
Seeking to improve attendance and graduation rates among high schoolers, Lillard started the RESPECT program in 2012. The program aims to teach students core values for success, such as the importance of showing up, working hard and being kind. By visiting with students and faculty, hosting school events and donating game tickets and merchandise, Lillard continues to help improve student behavior and engagement. As a reward for Lillard’s NBA Cares recognition, Kaiser Permanente is donating $10,000 to the RESPECT program.
With the 2019 NBA All-Star Game right around the corner, NBA Cares is launching a new campaign to promote eco-friendly behaviors. The environmental awareness branch of NBA Cares, NBA Green is partnering with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) to teach fans tips for reducing their energy use and limiting their carbon footprints.
Among several other notable basketball legends, former WNBA stars Swin Cash and Ruth Riley are lending their voices to the campaign through vignettes of bobbleheads featuring their likenesses. Check the campaign out here!