By Vernon Chang
Today, the Toronto Raptors All-Star, DeMar DeRozan, along with the Executive Director of First Book Canada, Tom Best hosted a Press Conference to promote DeMar’s All-Star Book Program initiative. The Press Conference was held at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto Raptors Practice Court.
Before DeMar came onto the practice court to greet the media, a large groups of students and their parents along with the teachers from their respective schools were on hand to witness this special occasion. First Book Canada is an organization that provides access to new books for children in need. First Book has contributed on books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout Canada.
DeMar, along with his wife, Kiara Morrison and his beloved daughter, Diar started his special DeMar DeRozan All-Star Book Program last year to which they have donated thousands of books. DeMar and his family decided to continue with this program for the second year in a row.
Tom Best, the Executive Director of First Book Canada said, “We are all about access to books for kids, everywhere, across the country. Last year, we gave away over 800,000 books to children from coast-to-coast.”
Best continued “But I can tell you one of the greatest joy of my life about this program was about a year ago when we were approached by DeMar’s team about setting up a reading book club for kids across the GTA. We were asked to select 10 books, across 10 schools, you may get the idea that the number “10” is very important in this program and it’s sure is. And 10-year old kids were selected from schools that were across the GTA, in fact, this year, we have expanded much beyond that, but we are so proud about this program largely because it gives us an opportunity to give to the children the outstanding books written by Canadian authors which this year, the selection is top notch.”
After Tom Best and other committee members made their speeches, DeMar addressed his vision and his reasons for setting up this special program.
DeMar said, “It’s definitely important that you guys were able to open your imagination, you know, educate yourself at an early age, see the bigger picture out there in the world, you know, read books and expanding your mind, learn something new every single day.”
One touching and cute moment was when First Book Canada presented a gift basket (full of books) to DeMar’s daughter Diar so that she can also become a great reader and learn new things. A youth from the organization presented the gift to Diar and Diar simply used her two strong little arms grabbed the gift bucket nicely with a smile on her face.
Tom Best said “She is as strong as her dad, she has the DNA”, and laughter broke out.
After the press conference, all the youth from the 10 schools joined DeMar and his family for a group picture. DeMar, not only an all-star, a great athlete, a great family man but also a great person with a BIG heart, giving back to the community and doing his part to bring a better future for the younger generation.
Freelance journalist MoVernie (Vernon Chang) has been enthusiastically covering the Toronto Raptors and numerous other media events in the Toronto area since 2007. Be sure to check out MoVernie Lifestyle On The Move.