Volunteer's effort to bring Kyrie Irving to Bridgeport schools gains traction
A volunteer for Bridgeport Public Schools has started a grassroots effort to bring NBA superstar Kyrie Irving to the city.
Marilyn Young, of Bridgeport, has spent the past decade trying to steer local kids in the right direction.
As a volunteer for the Foster Grandparent Program, she helps students like with every subject, from their reading to math skills.
But she said when it comes to helping them form practical life skills, like how to stay in school and off the street, despite enormous peer pressure, getting through to them is not always easy.
"One kid really struck me when he said, 'The reason why I'm still in school is because of Kyrie Irving, because he influence me to continue my education,'" Young recounted.
It was at that moment that Young got, what at first she thought, was just "a crazy idea."
Since NBA Superstar Kyrie Irving has such a unique way of commanding the attention of young people, she thought, why not see if she could somehow reach out to Irving and ask if he would consider coming to Bridgeport so he could talk directly with the kids.
"They look up to these athletes and everybody can't be in the NBA, and they know that, but they have to have backup," Young said.
Young quickly found an ally in her effort in Color A Positive Thought founder Harry Bell, who wasted no time making videos featuring kids in his program. The videos would be posted on Irving's social media pages as a means to ask the NBA megastar to come pay them a visit in Bridgeport.
Other local efforts like the nonprofit multi-sports program Bridgeport Youth LaCrosse and "Peace In the Streets" are also supporting the Irving invite.
"These kids are really a force of nature," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who pledged on Sunday to personally get in touch with Irving on behalf of Marilyn Young and the kids.
"These kids are expressing a really positive wonderful spirit and I'm going to contact Kyrie Irving and ask that he join their request that he come," Blumenthal added.
"I know it's going to be hard to get him," Young said.
Young said getting Kyrie Irving to Bridgeport may be a tall order, but with the lives of children at stake, it's a shot worth taking.
"I believe they'll listen to him about staying in school and getting your education, and there's nothing wrong with that," Young added.
Young said the kids she works with admire Irving "for his good character and amazing skill on the basketball court," and her invitation has nothing to do with the basketball star's sometimes controversial positions on vaccinations.