East Los Angeles, CaliforniaThe Lowrider staff and the Los Angeles Lakers, Toyota, and the NBA came together on Oct. 15 to celebrate the grand opening of the Laker’s Reading and Learning Center at the Boys and Girls Club in East Los Angeles. The club provides a safe, healthy environment for children to attend. Many students visit the club every day to participate in homework assistance programs, sports, music, art, and the development of lifelong friendships with other students.

The reconstruction of the club included new carpeting, paint, wall graphics, furniture, books, Xbox 360s, plasma TVs, framed photos, and computers. The new-and-improved club is truly a symbol of a promising future for the city and children of Los Angeles.

Several Laker’s players and cheerleaders, along with NBA Spokesman Clyde Drexler, attended this special event. The Laker players-Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum, Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, and Pau Gasol-joined Hall of Famer, Drexler, in the ribbon-cutting ceremony on McDonnell Avenue in East L.A. Fisher spoke to a crowd of 150 children telling them how important it is to stay in school and achieve good grades. He encouraged the students to use the new Reading and Learning Center, and said this opportunity was a sign that adults do care about them and their upcoming futures.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the players made their way into the newly decorated rooms to enjoy the new facility with the students. The Lakers and the elated children took a tour to the Reading and Technology Center, designed for ages 5-8, as well as the Club Center, designed for the teenagers aged 13-18. Not only that, but also the Boys and Girls Club cheerleaders gave the Laker Girls a little treat of their own by performing a very special cheer routine.

Anna Araujo, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, said she felt honored to be part of this outstanding event. “It was a pleasure to see everyone come together for one special thing: the children,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if these children speak Spanish or don’t speak Spanish, the main thing is that they all get along. This event was definitely memorable, actually it was priceless.”

In today’s important future, our children need all the support they can get toward education skills because sometimes schools, teachers, parents, and learning centers aren’t enough. Professional sports models, especially from the NBA, provided that last push needed for the kids because they’re important role models to them.

A special thanks goes out to the Laker’s players for taking the time, as they always do, to support the kids. Being there also gave Lowrider magazine a chance to witness the players genuine care and consideration for NBA programs that support kids and their futures. Lowrider magazine would also like to thank the Boys and Girls Club directors, Anna Araujo and Veronica Trujillo, for inviting our staff to join in on this inspirational moment and event.