By Iyana Young

We are so excited that former Celtic Keyon Dooling came to the Commission last week to check us out at Start Strong and to also inform us about his new organization called Respect.


He talked with us after we showed him the types of activities we did at our community centers with middle school students to promote healthy relationships.  He told us that he liked our healthy relationship focused workshops and that he’d be doing something similar with his organization to raise awareness of childhood sexual abuse.  He loved the fact it is older youth educating younger youth about relationships.  He really was proud of us for being leaders in talking about abuse and encouraged us to continue building our skills and helping our community.

Keyon Dooling is a recent retired professional basketball player.  Keyon played for numerous teams like the Clippers and the Heat, but last year he retired from our home team the Boston Celtics.  He retired so that he could do community service work and work on his new organization “Respect.”  This organization is going to reach out to youth and allow Keyon to build awareness of childhood sexual abuse and talk to youth about keeping motivated and working hard despite challenges, so that they can turn their dreams into realities. He grew up poor and he also had some problems with his reading skills. He stressed that if he’d never become serious about his education and if it wasn’t for one his teachers he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Keyon is a firm believer in working hard and overcoming your troubles.  He stressed to us that no matter what you do or go through theirs is always a way to be successful and also that “rejection is just redirection.”  Keyon believes that we youth are the future and he wants to see us all do well, which is why he’s starting his Respect organization. He says helping out the communities makes him very happy, he’s a very motivational and funny soul.

Despite the seriousness of the conversation there were times he went to town with us about music artists and other famous people he has met. Keyon is a stickler for education, motivation, and hard work; he believes that if you have all of these qualities then you can be whatever you want.  We are glad he heard about our peer leaders great work in the community and came out to encourage all of us.  We hope he comes to our basketball tournament in the Spring.

Iyana is an intern working with Start Strong and a sophomore at Bunker Hill College. She loves to volunteer by facepainting at community events and birthday parties.