With the holiday season upon us, the Los Angeles Lakers recently hosted a party for 60 kids from School on Wheels at Toyota Sports Center and Kobe Bryant took photos with all of the children in attendance. The kids also got a chance to ice skate with the Laker Girls and join the entire team in the practice gym, playing games and receiving gifts, provided by the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
“Most of these kids are coming from shelters and skid row, so most of them are either homeless and in shelters, or in motels, or living in cars on the street,” explained Denice Gonzalez-Kim, the development and partnerships associate for School on Wheels. “As an organization, we provide them everything that they need for school. We’re advocates for their education and we give them backpacks, school supplies and a tutor, so they can catch up with their schoolwork.”
For over 15 years, the Lakers have used “A Season of Giving” to assists thousands of children and adults. In partnership with East West Bank, this year’s events have also included a Thanksgiving feast and a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway with the Salvation Army in Inglewood.
“They know about Kobe,” said Gonzalez-Kim. “So meeting Kobe taking a picture with them is definitely their holiday gift.”