Monday, August 8, 2022

NBA Star Lonzo Ball Surprises Two Young Fathers with $2,000 in Partnership with The Dovetail Project | PHOTOS

Lonzo Ball - Getty-images
Lonzo Ball – Getty-images

*NBA Star Lonzo Ball partnered with one of the nation’s leading fatherhood initiatives based in Chicago, The Dovetail Project, and surprised two young hard-working fathers with $2,000 shopping sprees for the holidays. Rewriting the narrative of fatherhood for young Black and Brown communities, The Dovetail Project gives young fathers within marginalized communities a better understanding of the responsibilities of fatherhood and their importance in the lives of their children.

The two young fathers are Kevin McNair (23), who is a father of 3, and Kawan Nicholson (21), who is a father of 2. Both are Chicago Bull fans and are recent graduates of The Dovetail Project’s 22nd graduating class where they experienced a transformative 12-week curriculum that emphasized the roles, rights and responsibilities of fatherhood, felony street law and how to maintain an active, engaged presence in their children’s lives. During the graduation ceremony and completion of the program, the fathers receive a stipend, are coached and are prepared for job opportunities, GED registration and completion, or enrollment in a trade training program. Kevin and Kawan were able to use the money to buy gifts for their children this holiday season.

“I joined the Dovetail Project because I needed help and support. I was 23 years old, unemployed with three children.” McNair expressed, “This was the best twelve weeks I could have ever imagined. During those weeks, I learned how to communicate better with my children’s mother, what it means to give back, and understand what it means to be involved. I am now employed, and all the problems I had before joining this program are now in my rearview.”

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Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball also gave the young fathers personally signed jerseys.

As a young dedicated father himself, Lonzo Ball resonated with The Dovetail Project’s year-round impact and values to help provide the skills and support needed for young men to become better fathers and contributors to their communities.

The 501c3 organization has also been recognized by prominent figures and brands such as Michelle Obama, Chicago Bears, Kendrick Nunn in addition to national media features on CNN, Chicago Tribune, Black Enterprise and more. The Founder and Executive Director, Sheldon Smith, is a Chicago-based nonprofit leader, social entrepreneur, and trailblazer in the field of fatherhood.

Young fathers Kevin McNair and Kawan Nicholson shopping for their kids and treating themselves with the gift received from Lonzo Ball.
Young fathers Kevin McNair and Kawan Nicholson shopping for their kids and treating themselves with the gift received from Lonzo Ball.

Previously recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur and awarded as the American Red Cross Community Impact Hero alongside many other recognitions, Smith is healing families and communities through his work, impact and voice regarding fatherhood.

Widely acclaimed and recognized for his personal yet inspirational fatherhood journey, Smith is a notable example and mentor as he has equipped, guided, and helped transform the lives and families of young fathers within underserved communities. Since the inception of his organization in 2009, nearly 600 young African American and Hispanic fathers have graduated from the program.

In addition, the 501c3 is currently spearheading citywide COVID-19 relief efforts for thousands of young parents through its Fatherhood Relief Fund initiative.

About Sheldon Smith and The Dovetail Project
Sheldon Smith is a Chicago-based nonprofit leader, social entrepreneur, and trailblazer in the field of fatherhood. He is the Founder and Executive Director of The Dovetail Project, one of the country’s premier fatherhood initiatives. In the past three years alone, he has raised $2.2 million for the organization’s programming serving young fathers ages 17-24 in the City of Chicago. For over a decade, he has committed his life to rewriting the narrative of Black fatherhood.

Among many awards and honors, Mr. Smith has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur (2018), has received the American Red Cross Community Impact Hero Award (2018) and the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award (2018), and has been recognized as an exemplary civic leader by the Obama Foundation (2017). He has also been honored as a Top Ten CNN Hero (2016), appointed as a member of Chicago’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Cabinet by Mayor Rahm Emanuel (2015), and recognized as a “40 Under 40 Game Changer” by Ariel Investments (2014). He frequently travels to speak about fatherhood on the national stage, including TEDx University of California Santa Barbara, Black Enterprise’s Black Men Xcel Conference, and Chicago Ideas Week. Recent press coverage includes CNN, CTV, and ABC.

Smith began working as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side at 13. When he became a father at 21, he founded The Dovetail Project to support his fellow young Black and Brown fathers ages 17-24. The organization’s signature 12-week program teaches life skills, job skills, and felony street law; provides connections to GED completion, job training, and trade enrollment opportunities; and helps fathers to maintain an active and engaged presence in their children’s lives. Over the past decade, 521 young fathers have graduated from the program. During that time, Dovetail has grown from a single location to three sites, and is currently spearheading citywide COVID-19 relief efforts for thousands of young parents through its Fatherhood Relief Fund initiative.

Of all of his accomplishments, Smith’s greatest is being a devoted father to his daughter, Jada, and husband to his wife, Mary.
source: Aileen Bedeau – celebswork.com

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