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Allan Houston the CadetsAugust 5, 2019 – On Tuesday, July 30, New York Knicks all-time great Allan Houston met with several young men in the custody of the Westchester County Department of Correction as part of the Obama Foundation’s groundbreaking anti-violence program.  Accompanied by several partners from the Nepperhan Community Center and the Department’s leadership team, Houston took part in a ‘town hall’ program in which he stressed the importance of maintaining faith and personal integrity no matter what obstacles an individual may face.  

Houston was a two-time all-star, Olympic gold medal winner and longtime captain of the New York Knicks, playing in Madison Square Garden for nine seasons before retiring in 2005.  He spoke about his personal journey, from the University of Tennessee, where he was coached by his dad, to the NBA hardwood and, ultimately, to the Knicks’ corporate leadership team.  As Special Assistant to the Knicks General Manager, Houston is responsible for the continued success and development of the “Dub-Knicks” - the G-League team that calls the Westchester County Center home.  

Houston told the cadets that he considered them leaders as well; because of the their participation in the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) program the eyes of the nation remain focused on Westchester County to see if its success of can be implemented nationwide.  Awarded in late 2018, the MBK program is only one of ten in the country, and the only one with a criminal justice component.  Westchester’s Department of Correction and the City of Yonkers play a key role in the program by providing mentoring and advocacy services to young men of color while they are still incarcerated and then after they return home.

Dr. Jim Bostic, longtime Director of the Nepperhan Community Center and a former NBA player himself, followed on Houston’s remarks and told the young men “Don’t just sit here and count the minutes - instead think of this as a moment.  It is a moment in time on your much longer journey. Use this time to become economically, socially and politically aware. Vote. If you do so, where you have been is not where you are going.”

Correction Commissioner Joseph K. Spano stated “Because of our MBK program and more than 30 others that we offer, we are experiencing individual success stories on a daily basis.  Our executive team and hundreds of partners remain focused on changing lives and repairing communities while simultaneous ensuring staff and offender safety.”

First Deputy Commissioner Louis A. Molina noted “There is truly something unique going on in Westchester and we are hoping that - like Allan did today - many others are taking notice and being a part of it.”

After the town hall, the cadets and Houston were able to spend time together in the housing unit’s adjacent recreation area. Houston clearly has not lost his shooting touch, sinking several jumpers in a row before wishing the recruits well and noting that he expects to see them again - pursuing their dreams ‘on the outside.’