With a new school year comes new energy surrounding Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard’s motivational program, RESPECT.
RESPECT was launched to help encourage students to be successful, and Lillard kicked off the new year of the program at Parkrose High School Friday during an assembly.
“Getting ahold of them while they’re at that age where they’re making those decisions that are going to impact their future…those are the things I want to be involved in,” Lillard said.
Parkrose High School and Roosevelt High School have been chosen as partners for this year to engage students with RESPECT’s three core values: showing up, working hard, and being kind.
“It means a lot to the kids and I think speaks to them that it’s not just us,” Parkrose principal Molly Ouche said. “There’s a bigger community supporting them and believing in them and wanting to see them be successful.”
The new RESPECT curriculum encourages students to arrive on time each day, do their best and show respect for themselves and their peers.
“There’s nothing wrong with stepping away from being cool and standing up for the right stuff,” Lillard said. “That's what really counts, so it’s important for me to get up here and pass that message along and help raise awareness.”
While he knew he had many fans in the stands at the assembly Friday, Lillard said it wasn’t about basketball.
“The fact that they listen and they listen quietly, they clap after I get done speaking, it shows a level of respect and it reminds you that you’re doing the right thing,” he said. “You’re doing right by following your passion.”
There will be rewards at school for students who embody Lillard’s principles of RESPECT throughout the year. Through the partnership, school principals said they’ll be incorporating the program to increase school engagement and their graduation rate.
To learn more about the program, visit TrailBlazers.com/RESPECT.
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