While Shareef Abdur-Rahim maybe best known for his time as all-star power forward for the NBA, he’s currently making even bigger plays off the court.
An Atlanta-area native, Abdur-Rahim started his organization, the Future Foundation in 2004, making good on a promise to help local students be better-prepared for college and beyond. He first got the idea for the nonprofit while he and his sister, Qaadirah, attended college at the University of California, Berkeley.
While both were good students, they found themselves initially unprepared to compete academically at the college-level. They were determined to help other young students not have the same difficulties.
The Future Foundation’s mission is to level the playing field for youth in metro Atlanta by providing quality education, health, and life-skills programming. Through year-round and multi-year after-school programming, the organization has made great strides with students from low-performing schools in grades 6-12.
In fact, 100% of their participants have graduated high school, and 99% have gone on to a post-secondary institution.
The nonprofit accomplishes their lofty goals through their “Theory of Change,” a model that incorporates the five areas in which they believe young adults need for success and stability. These areas include relationship skill development, academic enrichment, family strengthening, life skills, and health education.
Through their work, providing students with outlets to learn and succeed, and giving families a chance to become stronger and more resilient, Future Foundation hopes to break the cycle of poverty for those most in need in Atlanta.
The Future Foundation holds daily after-school sessions at their Reef House Centers. Depending on their age, participants work on academics and learn how to maintain positive behavior and relationships. For older students, the focus shifts a bit toward drop-out prevention and preparing young adults for the difficult transition from middle school to high school.
Students here can also take part in a variety of programming, including “Real Talk ATL,” which encourages them to make healthy choices and create healthy relationships, and Fitness Unlocking Nutrition (F.U.N.), where participants learn new ways to be active.
These centers also incorporate opportunities for families to come together and learn how to be stronger, more supportive units. Families are invited to take part in group meals, games, and instruction on positive parenting and adolescent development.
“For kids to take the hard steps out of poverty, their parents have to be on board, as well,” Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim said. “We offer a wide variety of workshops focused on how to raise healthy adolescents as well as how to engage your family.”
To learn more about the organization, and how to get involved, visit them online at www.future-foundation.com.