(Photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)
Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin launched his charitable foundation's first initiative, which aims at benefiting three Houston organizations that help underprivileged children. Lin hosted a gala Thursday evening heading into the NBA's All-Star Weekend for "The Making a Difference" project by his Jeremy Lin Foundation.
"I feel like this was always something that I wanted to do," said Lin, as reported by The Associated Press. "I didn't know I could do it at this level and be able to have a foundation and do an event like this."
"I've learned to understand what it means to have a platform and how to use that the right way," the outspoken Christian said. "I'm still learning what that means every day. I feel like this is a step forward in being able to use the attention that we (NBA players) are given from society to be able to bring it upon other people in need.
Lin added, "I figure, if you've got a lot of cameras around, you might as well say something worthwhile."
Through the use of social media, those wanting to help the organizations will be able to view a summary of the three non-profits' programs, donate money through the foundation, and vote on their personal favorite. The organization that wins the most votes will receive the additional benefit of visits and appearance by Lin for a year.
The three Houston organizations, as described by the foundation, receiving help from the project will be:
Workshop Houston: Its mission is to provide youth with creative, technical and educational resources. Its vision is to lay the groundwork for a just society by creating a community that provides youth with support, expanded opportunities and alternative definitions of success.
Yellowstone Academy: Its mission is to serve children from very low income families. Through education and intensive intervention beginning at an early age, these children can break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and grow up to become responsible, productive adults.
PAIR (Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees): This organization exists to empower refugee youth to navigate American society, reach their academic potential, and become community leaders through educational and mentoring programs.
After reviewing the three organizations, Lin chose them based on the service work they've accomplished and financial need, according to AP.
"We believe in what they've been doing and we've done a lot of homework on their pasts, their programs, their kids," Lin said. "We feel like these three are doing phenomenal work, and would really benefit from a boost."
Lin became an NBA sensation last season while playing for the New York Knicks. He is the NBA's first American player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. Lin, who was raised in northern California, plans not only to widen the foundation's influence to that area of the country, but globally as well.
"Somewhere, years down the road, I definitely want to make an impact within third-world countries and for our foundation to be able to do work in a lot of different areas across the world," he said. "This is definitely the first step."