Kevin Durant may be a snake in the minds of many NBA fans after having gone to the team he barely lost to in the Western Conference finals some years ago, but to his hometown of Seat Pleasant, the area where he grew up, he’s a hero.
The NBA champion has committed $10 million and partnered with public schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland on a program called College Track to provide resources and outlets for underprivileged kids to reach their maximum potential.
Durant told the Post of his childhood,
“We didn’t have the resources to get our minds thinking about the next level. I want to do my part, whatever it is. If College Track students want to be the next Steve Jobs or the next influencer or the next tastemakers, they can get there.
College Track is a 10-year program that provides fundamental resources like tutoring, test preparation, picking the right college and how to get financial aid, that kids from less-advantaged families often don’t have.
Created more than 20 years ago in California by Powell Jobs and others, College Track helps disadvantaged kids attend college and get launched into life.
The idea to bring the program to his hometown and to make such a significant investment came when Durant meet Powell at a Silicon Valley technology conference in the Bay Area in January on 2017.
Wanting to show them [the youth] the experiences he went through and what he’s seen, was important to Durant. He feels that’s all it takes to get more kids in the right direction. Only 21 percent of first-generation, low-income students graduate from college. And Durant plans on using the College Track program too change that.
There are nine College Track’s across California, Colorado and Louisiana have helped 3,000 students get to college and beyond. The Durant Center will be the first of three facilities planned for the Washington area with plans two more in the District by 2021.
“College Track recruits students from underserved communities and works continuously with them from the summer before ninth grade through college graduation,” the program’s website explains.
“Our ten-year program removes the barriers that prevent students from earning their college degree by providing them with comprehensive academic support, leadership training, financial and college advising, and scholarships. We teach our students the skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond.”
Four hundred Track students have graduated from college so far, and that number is on pace to reach 496 this year. Opportunities just like the one Durant is providing is why athletes should never just ‘shut up and dribble’.
The future of the DMV is brighter than ever and surely will start inspire other low-income cities across the country to follow such implementations.