Connecting and serving the community is part of our core values at the Los Angeles Lakers organization. Supporting the health and wellness of the youth of Southern California is our mission and we are always looking to multiply the impact of our time and resources. In the fall of last year we were connected through the California Endowment with the Active Alliance and found a program we could partner with to do just that.
The Active Alliance is a California-based partnership designed to educate and inspire children to become physically and mentally fit. Like building a championship team the members of the Active Alliance are the best at what they do and their skill sets complement each other making the partnership greater than the sum of its parts.
The members include: 1) California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation with a mission to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. They are the strategists for our partnership. 2) HealthCorps, a not-for-profit founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, whose mission is building a nationwide movement to shape a new generation to combat the childhood obesity crisis. They created an in-school model that inspires teens to make healthier choices for themselves and their families. By enlisting and training college age coordinators and assigning them to schools to train the next generation's coordinators they create an infrastructure that can perpetuate itself. They provide the "boots on the ground." 3) California's four NBA teams; Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. The teams contribute many things including funding in the form of grants, donations of group tickets, autographed memorabilia and perhaps the most influential, player appearances. NBA athletes and teams have the unique opportunity to inspire youth, using our platform and the NBA FIT program to raise awareness on important issues including those in the HealthCorps program. The fact that the four California-based NBA teams (which are extremely competitive with each other) have joined hands in this partnership reflects the esteem we place in the Active Alliance joint venture.
The goal is to reach 10,000 kids within the next year. The teams have each partnered with two -- four local "HealthCorps High Schools." At these schools, a HealthCorps Coordinator will implement Alliance programming in tandem with community relations staff from the professional sports teams. The Lakers will take part in an Alliance event to tip off the season. The Lakers will dedicate a refurbished basketball court at the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles Harbor to celebrate the launch of the 2014 -- 15 NBA season.
Connecting with the community inspires the players, the coaches and the entire Lakers staff. Doing it in a way where we are teammates with the best in their fields allows us to use our resources effectively AND efficiently, the goal of any championship organization.
This blog post is part of a series produced by the NBA in conjunction with NBA Cares Week. To see all the posts in the series, visit Huffington Post's Impact Sports page, which covers the intersection of sports and social good. For more information about NBA Cares Week, visit here.