Lucille O’Neal may have given the world a basketball star in the person of her son Shaquille O’Neal, but she wasn’t satisfied with just changing the course of basketball history. This holiday season, O’Neal has teamed with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to inspire young people and their parents to do more giving this year. For the second year, BGCA sponsors the Give the Gift of a Great Future campaign that hopes to encourage young people and their parents to do service-oriented projects this holiday season.
“Most parents want to give their children everything, especially during the holidays,” O’Neal said in a statement. “I’ve found that the holiday season is also the perfect time to create strong family bonds through traditions and conversations that involve giving back. “I was proud that all my children openly embraced serving, which they learned at home and at their local Boys & Girls Club. But, we didn’t just send them out to serve; we made it a family affair!”
To that end, BGCA has created a websitewww.GreatFutures.org/Give that assists parents with and tips advice intended to help develop volunteering initiatives in their children. The BGCA has been very successful connecting young people to services, contributing over 1.2 million community service hours in 2012. O’Neal believes that service is not just a way to “give back,” it’s also a primary way to build character.
“Young people who perform volunteer work not only help others, research shows they do better in school, too,” O’Neal wrote in a blog for “The Huffington Post.” “Today, more than ever, it’s so important that we build supportive family and community ties and give our kids the character-building experiences that will help them grow up to lead fulfilling, successful lives.”