Bob Rathbun, Fox Sports Southeast Play-by-Play Announcer, served as event emcee and Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, State Farm Gwinnett Area Vice President Sam McCammon, UPS Business Manager John Ector, Gwinnett County District 2 Commissioner Ben Ku, and Georgia Cyber Academy student Damon Frazier, gave remarks respectively. Hawks rookie Cam Reddish officially welcomed children to the new Good Neighbor Club.
“We have reached a major milestone by renovating 25 courts and increasing access to play for more than 600,000 residents in metro Atlanta and are excited to extend beyond the original goal and continue to modernize courts in underserved areas for years to come,” said Steve Koonin, Atlanta Hawks CEO.
“When building the program, our intent was always to bring programming back into the neighborhoods attached to these courts. Now with State Farm, we can continue to connect people and make a difference in our community by opening Good Neighbor Clubs and maintaining a presence in those centers.”
As part of the festivities, over 50 local children were surprised with custom basketball jerseys, backpacks and a host of other giveaways provided by the Hawks, State Farm and UPS.
“UPS is honored to partner with our hometown Atlanta Hawks,” said John Ector Jr., Business Manager for UPS. “As a global company, UPS has a responsibility to build stronger, safer and more resilient communities around the world. We are excited to be involved in a project that will have a lasting impact in the Atlanta area.”
With a commitment to provide ongoing programming within these communities, the Hawks partnered with State Farm to transform rooms in the recreation centers attached to the courts into Good Neighbor Clubs.
The clubs serve as comprehensive learning and entertainment hubs for the community and are an extension of the team’s on-going court renovation program designed to create increased access to play throughout the Atlanta metro area.
With the first unveil taking place at William Walker Recreation Center in Southwest Atlanta, the Club at Lucky Shoals Park is the second of four that will open this year. In the future, the Hawks and State Farm plan to host a variety of enriching activities for children and their parents at these Clubs.
“Being a ‘good neighbor’ is much more than a saying; it’s who we are and in everything we do. From investing in our communities to ‘being there’ when the unexpected happens, being a good neighbor is in our DNA,” said Sam McCammon, State Farm area vice president. “We’re excited about our continued partnership with the Atlanta Hawks, and the launch of the Good Neighbor Club is an opportunity to show how much we care about and are invested in this city.”
This Good Neighbor Club renovation included the addition of an entertainment area, a reading nook equipped with iPads, TVs, gaming consoles, dedicated classroom space for programming and new paint.
The wall graphics used in the room were designed by Dimensional Innovations, an Atlanta-based experience design firm, that previously partnered with the Hawks to ideate, design and build many of the partner spaces within the award-winning State Farm Arena, before taking on the Good Neighbor Clubs.
August marked the one-year anniversary of the partnership between the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm as naming rights partner of State Farm Arena. To commemorate this impactful partnership, the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm announced the Million Meal Pack Initiative that will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5 at State Farm Arena.
More than 5,000 volunteers will help assemble meals to be distributed throughout the Atlanta metro area under the direction of Feeding Children Everywhere, an organization dedicated to creating a hunger-free world.
This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Voice.