Kevin Durant knows about starting at the bottom rung. But he is blessed with a gift to play basketball, which is not just a paycheck, but a ticket to worlds with other possibilities. He has used that access to create business opportunities beyond the world of sports, such as in technology.
“What I love about tech is, I love watching the world advance,” said the 29-year-old star of the Golden State Warriors, who invests through his Durant Company. “I love the connections of people on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter. I would look at it like [Cornelius] Vanderbilt, who built the railroad. He connected us. The next advancement connecting us to each other is social media. I want to be part of that.” His interest in technology connected him to Laurene Powell Jobs and has led to a new philanthropic venture.
Durant has committed $10 million and partnered with the Prince George’s public schools on a program called College Track, which was created more than 20 years ago in California by Powell Jobs and others. College Track helps disadvantaged kids — like Durant once was — attend college and get launched into life.
Durant is dropping a life-ladder called the Durant Center smack in the middle of the Seat Pleasant, Md., area where he grew up. It isn’t an elevator. The 60 students in the initial group must climb the ladder themselves.
But it’s a path.
“I want them to see the world,” Durant said in a phone interview this month. “I want them to see where people are from and see that there are things outside their world. I don’t know exactly or at what pace that they will get it, but there is a world outside that they need to see.”
Durant’s $10 million will seed construction and operating expenses of a local chapter of College Track, which is scheduled to open this year.
“This hits home, because it’s right in the neighborhood where me and my buddies lived,” said the 6-foot-11 “small” forward.
College Track is a 10-year program that provides the basic infrastructure — tutoring, test preparation, picking a college that is a “fit” and how to get financial aid — that kids from less-advantaged families often don’t have.
“These are all the things that middle-class families deliver if your parents went to college,” said Elissa Salas, College Track’s chief executive. “If your parents didn’t go to college, we fill that gap.”
Former NFL linebacker-turned-educator Aaron Maybin has raised money and national awareness about Baltimore students in desperate need of heat and warm gear.
Last week, Maybin, who currently works as a teacher at Baltimore’s Matthew A. Henson Elementary School, shared on Twitter a video of young students complaining about the frigid conditions inside of their classroom. “I’m super, super cold,” said one boy. “Yesterday, I had frostbite,” revealed another little boy who appeared to be wearing a winter coat. “This is unacceptable,” wrote Maybin as the caption of the tweet, which went viral.
In another tweet, the former player and Baltimore native expressed outrage about the way taxpayer dollars are allocated and prioritized.
According to BaltimoreBrew.com, the temperature inside of his classroom hovered around 40 degrees. “How would your kids concentrate if you sent them to school in a refrigerator for eight hours? With failing lighting. Two classes in one room?” Maybin told the site. “We tried our best as educators. They tried their best as scholars. But they are dealing with a lot already. And now they are supposed to learn in the dark and in the cold.” He added that about half of the school has been without electricity since the beginning of the month. “I’m told it was due to nobody being there during the holidays to make sure the heat stayed on and pipes didn’t freeze.”
In addition to voicing concern about the horrid conditions, the 29-year-old artist and activist also encouraged his Twitter followers to donate to a GoFundMe campaign, titled We Need Heat In Our Public Schools, that aimed to raise $20,000 to purchase 600 space heaters and winter clothes for students.
“Baltimore City Public Schools are currently operating with an inadequate heating system,” reads the GoFundMe page. “Students are still required to attend classes that are freezing and expected to wear their coats to assist in keeping them warm. How can you teach a child in these conditions?”
On Thursday, Maybin tweeted that the page raised over $8,000 after he shared a link on Twitter. That same day, he shared a photo of himself picking up clothing and other donations for the children. By Monday afternoon, the page had raised more than $76,000.
In response to the crisis, the Baltimore City Public Schools system released a statement on Sunday assuring that the heating issues were addressed late last week when city schools were closed. The statement also promised that “every student will be in a safe, warm learning space, or the school won’t be open.”
Originally posted on #ADPhD: Lawrence Jackson’s course on Frederick Douglass covered by Hopkins Hub: “For Jackson’s class, the time in Maryland before that escape commanded the most interest—Douglass’ formative years, before he became the world-famous abolitionist, orator, and writer. Students in the graduate English seminar “Mapping Frederick Douglass” researched and visited regional sites of significance…
Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across Baltimore in the small hours of Wednesday morning, just days after violence broke out over the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia.
Beginning soon after midnight on Wednesday, a crew, which included a large crane and a contingent of police officers, began making rounds of the city’s parks and public squares, tearing the monuments from their pedestals and carting them out of town.Small crowds gathered at each of the monuments and the mood was “celebratory,” said Baynard Woods, the editor at large of The Baltimore City Paper, who documented the removals on Twitter. “The police are being cheerful and encouraging people to take photos and selfies,” Mr. Woods said in an interview.
The statues were taken down by order of Mayor Catherine Pugh, after the City Council voted on Monday for their removal. The city had been studying the issue since 2015, when a mass shooting by a white supremacist at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., prompted a renewed debate across the South over removing Confederate monuments and battle flags from public spaces.
Nancy Abu-Bonsrah is making history after being admitted to Johns Hopkins as its first black female neurosurgeon. On Friday, March 17, fourth-year medical students participated in a Match Day event in which they discovered where they would be doing their residency training over the summer. Each student held an envelope with the name of their matched hospital, and when Abu-Bonsrah opened hers, it had the name Johns Hopkins.
Abu-Bonsrah was thrilled, saying, “Everything is special about the match. It will be a dream come true.”Nancy Abu-Bonsrah is making history during #WomensHistoryMonth Read her story on @BBCNews here https://t.co/9k4kaygRTz pic.twitter.com/rAx12tb2vF— Hopkins Med News (@HopkinsMedNews) March 20, 2017
Asked about herself, Abu-Bonsrah had this to share: “I was born in Ghana and spent the first 15 years of my life there. My family and I came to Maryland about 11 years ago. I did most of high school at Hammond High in Columbia, Maryland, and went to college at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. I came to Johns Hopkins right after undergrad. I will be the first physician in my family, including the extended family.”
As for her future plans, she said, “I am very much interested in providing medical care in underserved settings, specifically surgical care. I hope to be able to go back to Ghana over the course of my career to help in building sustainable surgical infrastructure. I will be matching into neurosurgery, a field that I am greatly enamored with, and hope to utilize those skills in advancing global surgical care.
Federal parks officials have formally established the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in upstate New York. Members of the state’s congressional delegation joined U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Washington, D.C., for the official signing ceremony last month that makes the park part of the National Park Service system. It encompasses the site of Tubman’s old home on the outskirts of Auburn, about 25 miles west of Syracuse, and a nearby church where she worshipped.
The New York park will focus on Tubman’s work later on in her life when she was an active proponent of women’s suffrage and other causes. It will be a sister park to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland.
“These two parks preserve and showcase a more complete history of one of America’s pivotal humanitarians who, at great personal risk, did so much to secure the freedom of hundreds of formerly enslaved people,” Secretary Jewell said. “Her selfless commitment to a more perfect union is testament that one determined person, no matter her station in life or the odds against her, can make a tremendous difference.”
Recently the Landmarks Committee of the National Park Service unanimously voted to recommend that the home at 906 Carroll Street become a National Historic Landmark. The final decision on the matter rests with the Secretary of the Interior and the decision can be made before the change in presidential administrations. The Pauli Murray Project has fully restored the home and it is expected that it will be made into a museum and social justice center.
A native of Baltimore, Pauli Murray was orphaned at age 13. She went to Durham, North Carolina to live with an aunt. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she enrolled in Hunter College in New York City. She was forced to drop out of school at the onset of the Great Depression. In 1938, she mounted an unsuccessful legal effort to gain admission to the all-white University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1940, 15 years earlier than Rosa Parks, Murray was arrested for refusing to sit in the back of a bus in Virginia.
Murray enrolled at the Howard University in 1941 and earned her degree in 1944. She later graduated from the Boalt Hall Law School at the University of California at Berkeley. She became a leader of the civil rights movement and was critical of its leadership for not including more women in their ranks. In 1977, Murray, at the age of 66, was ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church. She died in Pittsburgh in 1985 after suffering from cancer.
Kids who are sent to the Mindful Moment Room are encouraged to practice deep breathing and meditation practices while surrounded by purple pillows, lamps and other decorations. What’s more, while they are there, they are encouraged to talk about why they were sent there in the first place. The meditation is supposed to help the kids re-center their thoughts and also give them a chance to focus again.
The space was created with the help of the Holistic Life Foundation, which describes itself as being dedicated to helping “children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care.” They have also created a program called Holistic Me in which young children from pre-K to fifth grade learn yoga, meditation and breathing exercises.
“It’s amazing,” said Kirk Philips, the Holistic Me coordinator at Robert W. Coleman. “You wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence. And they do.”
And the results are astonishing at school as well, with absolutely zero suspensions last year and none so far this year at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School since implementing the program.
Remember the Maryland boy who in 2015 became the first child in the world to receive a double hand transplant? Well, he just threw out the first pitch at an Orioles game.
Zion Harvey, who lost both hands and feet to a severe infection as a baby, was 8-years-old last summer when a surgical team of 40 at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia worked ten hours connecting bone, blood vessels, nerves, muscles, tendons and skin to give him two new hands.
Harvey has been working ever since to regain hand function through rigorous therapy sessions. On Tuesday, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch for his hometown Orioles. “Never give up on your dreams, it will come true,” Harvey told WJZ last year.
Outfielder Adam Jones had the honor of catching Harvey’s ball. The O’s went on to win their game against the Texas Rangers 5-1.
When Michael Tertsea was 14, he was offered the opportunity to get an education and play basketball at the John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland. To pursue his dreams, he left his village in Nigeria and his mother, the Washington Post reports.
Four years later, the towering 6-foot-10 teen, who has received a full scholarship to play Division 1 basketball at the University of Rhode Island, was set for graduation and holding on to hopes of making it to the NBA so that he would be able to bring his mother to the United States.
As it turns out, Tertsea’s classmates were one step ahead of him. They had decided that his mom, Felicia Ikpum, should be here for his big day and raised money to fly her all the way to the U.S. to see her son, whom she hasn’t seen in four years, graduate.
According to the Post, the amazing gesture was meant to be a surprise, but Ikpum let the secret slip in one of her weekly phone calls with her son. However, Tertsea was still in awe when he finally got to see her arrive at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on May 20 and give her a hug.
“I was so happy to see her,” Tertsea said. “I’ve changed a lot … she’s been amazed at the person I’ve become.”
The senior class had successfully pulled together some $1,600 for the trip, while a school coordinator worked with Ikpum to make sure she could get her visa on time. When it was finally confirmed, the school’s faculty put up another $500 to pay for the trip.
According to the Post, Ikpum had to travel some 12 hours to Lagos, Nigeria, to board her flight to London, from where she would then fly to Baltimore. It was Ikpum’s first time on an airplane.
Mother and son have been enjoying each other’s company since her arrival last week, the Post reports. Ikpum had pasta for the first time and is in awe of her son’s life in the U.S., from the paved highways to the computerized school her son attends. Tertsea plans to take her to Washington, D.C., to see the monuments and the White House before she returns to Nigeria next week. He also plans to take her to Ocean City, Md., to walk the boardwalk and see the beach, and even to Baltimore to see the National Aquarium.
Tertsea, according to the Post, is thankful for his friends for making his graduation so special. He said that the best part of his life in the U.S. is “seeing a lot of people who show love and care towards me.”