New Houston Rocket Russell Westbrook returned to his hometown of Los Angeles, California to launch the Westbrook/Brownstein Green Tech Program, designed to assist at-risk, inner-city youth to find the classroom instead of the streets.

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“I feel like this particular program actually impacts the kids’ futures, impacts their mind, the mentality of where they grew up, where they’re from,” Westbrook, said to PEOPLE. “I definitely can relate to that because I feel like I was one of those kids growing up in the city of Los Angeles and finding my way, figuring out what was the best path for me.”

The initiative is a part of Westbrook’s Why Not Foundation, which collaborated with Chad Brownstein and La Conservation Corps to help young adults develop their digital skills and lead to careers in coding and computer engineering.


“That was my motivation, honestly,” Westbrook added. “I didn’t look for anybody to help or hand out but I definitely thought it was important that people that had the ‘power,’ the ability to be able to help, did that. It was motivation for me to be able to get to a level, to a point, where I can give back to some of the same kids that are in the same situation that I was in.”

Westbrook and Brownstein were both on hand at the launch of the classes at the John Van de Camp Center, while also picking up tips in robotics, 3-D printing, and drone piloting.

“I can relate to them because I was one of them, and it’s important that they know that and understand that I am here to help give them the resource.”