Looking out at the shiny, new gym floor in our Port of L.A. Boys & Girls Club, former Lakers player A.C. Green announced to attendees at the opening ceremony, “This is a dream come true. This is definitely a very beautiful place that can and will change a lot of lives.”
On October 27, we were honored to be visited by Green, former Lakers player James Worthy and current Lakers forward Julius Randle for the opening of our refurbished gym floor at our Port Club. Adjacent to the Rancho San Pedro public housing community, our Port Club serves hundreds of at-risk youth and provides a safe, nurturing environment where they can participate in enrichment programming and athletics activities – now on a hardwood, professional gym floor. The floor of the large gym which houses two basketball courts was formerly concrete topped with synthetic flooring that had not been replaced in almost 15 years.
The ceremony opened with a speech by Port Club member Christopher Williamson, a 10th grader who participates in programming in our Teen Center and is an avid athlete. He utilizes our gym as a Club member and as a POLA High School student as the school also utilizes the gym for basketball and volleyball practice. Christopher expressed his gratitude to the Lakers Youth Foundation for picking our organization to participate in the YOU Grant challenge for a new gym floor in October. Thanks to community support through online votes, our organization won the contest and was awarded a grant to refurbish the gym floor.
Following the opening ceremony, Green, Worthy, Randle and Lakers’ athletic trainers inaugurated the gym floor with a two hour workshop for our high school youth, running our young athletes through the same drills used in professional practices. Green and Worthy even gave our youth a private demonstration of their renowned talents, playing a brief game of one-on-one.
Thank you to the Lakers Youth Foundation for their support and for making the opening such an exciting day for our youth. Thanks also to the Port of Los Angeles for their support and for providing the facility for our Port Club where we are able to offer opportunities to so many youth.