Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris is already paying it forward in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection just weeks after his February trade from the Los Angeles Clippers. On March 21, Harris held a Women’s History Month empowerment event for 40 middle school girls at the Shepard Recreation Center in West Philadelphia.
Partnering on his “Game Changers: Women in Sports, Tech & Literacy” event with Team Up Philly, an organization that provides sports and enrichment programs for local girls, Harris led a panel of women accomplished in various roles and industries in discussions related to academic success, mentorship, and resiliency.
“I’m excited because I’m up here with some phenomenal women that are here to just talk to you guys to inspire you to continue to grow in whatever career you guys want to grow in,” stated Harris as he introduced the panelists to the girls. “You guys [attendees] are the leaders. Really understand that confidence you have and bring it about and not be afraid of it.”
Featured panelists were:
Maya Francis, West Philadelphia native and writer, editor and contributor for various national media outlets
Kiera Smalls, West Philadelphia native and executive director at Philly Startup Leaders, an organization that supports emerging entrepreneurs
Serena Winters, 76ers reporter for NBC Sports Philadelphia
Ivana Seric, data scientist for the Philadelphia 76ers
In addition to the insight and inspiration the girls received at the event, attendees left with tangible takeaways too. Harris generously gifted each girl with the book “Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History” by Molly Schiot. He also provided the girls with special drawstring backpacks.
Philadelphia may be new to Harris, but philanthropy is not. Among other charitable endeavors, Harris hosts his School of Business Basketball Camp ever summer for about 100 underserved youth in his hometown of Long Island, New York. Free of charge and held at the state-of-the-art Yes We Can Community Center, the camp aims to prepare youth for futures beyond basketball.
Now in his eighth NBA season, the former Tennessee Volunteer and first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft is continuing to do his part to educate and empower underserved youth to see past what the world so often tells them is impossible.