NBA Superstar Dwight Howard Visits Pasasdena Childrens’ and Teens’ Home

Bob Lang, Tony Tartaglia, Joe Ford, Bessie Ruiz, Dwight Howard, Annsley Strong, Debbie Manners, Paulette Lang, Mike GalperDwight and the Hathaway-Sycamores’ boysRhonda Alston, Tony Tartaglia, Mike Galper, Debbie Manners, Ivonnah ErskineDwight Howard, Debbie Manners and Joe FordDwight Howard, Gabriel RuizTawni Rose Lavardo, Kelly Davis, Ivonnah Erskine, Denyse Miller

STAFF REPORTS

1:20 pm | March 19, 2015


Eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard, who currently plays center for the Houston Rockets, spent this past Saturday afternoon at Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services’ residential treatment facility in Altadena. Much like the energetic effort he exerts on the hardwood, Howard is similarly devoted to several charitable initiatives, including his recently launched “Breathe Again” campaign, a grassroots movement designed to prompt dialogue that can help bring groups of people together.

While touring the Hathaway-Sycamores’ facility that’s home to children and teens, many of whom have suffered severe trauma and neglect, the NBA standout wore a T-shirt with the phrase “Breathe Again” on the front and the message “Let’s Talk, Let’s Walk, Let’s Breathe Again” on the back. Howard explained, “I just felt like I wanted to do something different to try to bridge the gap between races and people in general. There’s a lot of stuff going on in our society,” he added, “and I feel we all need to breathe again. And when situations arise in life, instead of reacting, we have to breathe. Instead of pointing to the problem, we need to point to the solution. We need to come together.”

Following the tour, Howard sat down with the Hathaway-Sycamores’ youngsters, sharing insights, inspiration, and answering a host of questions; from what’s his shoe size (18), to his most memorable experience (winning a Gold Medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.)

The 6’ 11” Howard towered above his rapt audience, whom he encouraged to stay hopeful, positive, and focused on achieving their goals. He also emphasized the importance of believing in themselves and being supportive of each other. Howard then asked each youngster what they wanted to be when they grow up. Answers included serving in the military, designing video games, playing professional football, and specializing in sports medicine. Howard instructed the boys to commit their goals to paper and to not give up, regardless of whatever obstacles life presents.

Howard noted that he “likes to give back,” as evidenced by the D12 Foundation (http://www.d12foundation.org/) that he created in 2010. Dedicated to improving the lives of youth in American and International communities, the Foundation focuses on four areas: promoting education; sowing seeds of generosity; championing leadership as well as inspiring dreams; inspiring hope and recovery in unexpected times.