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RISE Concludes Local Youth Program with NBA'S Ben Simmons and Good Shepherd Services

Ben Simmons Family Foundation, Good Shepherd Services and RISE Complete Brooklyn Youth Program for Second Straight Year

December 12, 2023

NEW YORK, NY - RISE, the national nonprofit coalition of major U.S. sports leagues and media networks that uses sports to eliminate racism and champion social justice, is proud to announce it has completed its program focusing on developing youth leaders in Brooklyn communities with Brooklyn Nets star player Ben Simmons and Good Shepherd Services for the second straight year. The program, which emphasizes social equity and social justice, concluded at the Brooklyn Nets facility in Sunset Park where participants were able to showcase what they have learned and shared how to be leaders in equity, equality and social justice within their communities.

The multi-week leadership program, which started in September, primarily took place at Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center in Brooklyn where 25 young people from Good Shepherd Services participated, including five people from last year's cohort that served as peer mentors to the new participants. The group celebrated by attending a Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center where they were recognized for their completion of the program.

Throughout the program, participants were challenged to break down barriers, build relationships and establish a positive and inclusive culture during weekly leadership workshops that were followed by basketball clinics run by Nets Academy clinicians. They also focused discussions on ways in which they can do more to overcome challenges that they and their peers in their communities face.

In addition, the Ben Simmons Family Foundation provided a donation of sports equipment to Good Shepherd Services servicing the RISE program and other GSS programs across Brooklyn and the Bronx.

“Sports can be used to help enable communication to be more effective,” said a program peer mentor. “It brings a group of people together to help everyone be on one mission and if used correctly, it can help solve a lot of problems with our youth. Their willingness to participate and help each other throughout this program progressed and showed development.”

“My biggest takeaway was getting to know the people around me better, people that I otherwise wouldn't really know,” added a participant.

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