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RISE Partners with NBA's Ben Simmons and Good Shepherd Services for Return of Local Youth Program

September 20, 2023

New York, NY - 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 once again partnered with Brooklyn Nets star player Ben Simmons and Good Shepherd Services to deliver programming focused on developing youth leaders in Brooklyn communities. The program, which emphasizes social equity and social justice, kicks off on Saturday, September 16th at the Brooklyn Nets facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where participants will have the opportunity to formally meet one another, including program leaders, and hear directly from Simmons.

The multi-week leadership program, which debuted last year, will again take place at Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center in Brooklyn where 25 young people from Good Shepherd Services network will participate. Five participants from last year's cohort will serve as peer mentors to the new participants. The program will also include facilitators, coaches and outreach specialists to the new cohort giving them the opportunity to develop their leadership and mentoring skills, through a paid internship.

Ben Simmons

Each week, leadership workshops will be followed by basketball clinics run by Nets Academy clinicians, making sports an integral part of this experience. 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.

"Giving young people the opportunity to find their own voice and use it to combat racism and social inequities will prepare them to grow into our future leaders. I am excited to once again partner with RISE and Good Shepherd Services and reconnect with some of last year's participants as Peer Mentors and create the opportunity for them to further develop leadership skills, ” said Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets player and Founder, Ben Simmons Family Foundation.

During the programming, the participants will be challenged to break down barriers, build relationships and establish a positive and inclusive culture. They will also focus their discussions on ways in which they can do more to overcome challenges that they and their peers in their communities face. At the program's culmination on November 18, participants will have a chance to showcase what they have learned and their ideas on how to be leaders in equity, equality and social justice within their communities.

“We have a duty to our youth to better prepare them to challenge systems of inequity and to advocate for themselves and their communities and we are excited to once again collaborate with Ben Simmons and Good Shepherd to provide young people in Brooklyn with this knowledge and these skills.” said RISE Chief Program Officer Dr. Andrew Mac Intosh. “Ben and his foundation's message of 'Do More', as well as Good Shepherd's efforts to foster economic mobility, makes them perfect allies in the fight for social justice.”

About Ben Simmons Family Foundation (BSFF)

The Ben Simmons Family Foundation exists to break down the barriers to an equal future. With a focus on Leadership, Advocacy and Education, BSFF collaborates with change makers who have impact. Community leaders create opportunities and pathways that strive towards an equal future by investing in the next generation. The commitments and projects supported anchor around education, sport, wellness, and technology which positively impact and create change. Follow BSFF on Instagram @bensimmonsfamilyfoundation

About RISE

RISE is a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations. Through partnerships and programs, RISE inspires leaders in sports to create positive change on matters of race and equality. RISE's vision is to create a nation unified through sports committed to racial equity and social justice. Follow RISE on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @RISEtoWIN or learn more at https://risetowin.org

About Good Shepherd Services

Good Shepherd Services goes where children, youth and families face the greatest challenges and provide resources that build on their inherent strength to help them thrive. They operate over 80 programs - which help 30,000 youth and family members in struggling neighborhoods throughout New York City - and all programs are united by a common goal; to create opportunities that help our participants succeed at school, at home and in their community.


Melissa Tribe, Director

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Antoine Ibrahim, Director of Communications, Unrivaled Group

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