On Monday, the Kerosene Lamp Foundation will hold its second annual celebrity golf tournament and dinner at the Moraga Country Club.
"Swinging for the Kids" is a golf tournament that engages the Bay Area community with local celebrities, with the overarching goal to highlight the mission of KLF.
Founded by retired NBA player, Adonal Foyle, KLF is an international organization that uses basketball as a vehicle to discuss with at-risk youth the importance of issues such as staying in school, literacy, nutrition and AIDS education.
KLF runs some of its camps, in Orlando Florida, Oakland, and in the Caribbean, where AIDS education is much needed.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the Caribbean, as a whole, ranks second to sub-Saharan Africa in HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rates worldwide.
"We wanted it (HIV/AIDS education) to be part of our platform -- to have kids thinking about the serious consequences that can happen when they veer away from the right path," Foyle said.
KLF embraces the widely known but diminishing educational phenomenon that the arts, in their myriad forms, are a critical component to student achievement. It can make math and science relevant in ways that courses in math and sciences are unable to achieve alone.
Though true for all students, it is particularly acute for at-risk youth.
But KLF is far from being a quasi-breeding ground to locate the next NBA superstar.
"It would be great if another basketball player came out of the Caribbean, or any other place we work, and became a professional basketball player, but that's not our goal or concern," Foyle said.
He adds, "The skill sets that we learn in sports are very helpful for life. Sports, team sports in particular, requires that you be very disciplined, manage time, and work with others."
By working with students aged between 6-17, it is the goal of KLF is to inculcate those disciplines so that they transfer into all aspects of life.
But the genesis, vision, and motivation of KLF lie almost exclusively with Foyle. The foundation's name was based on Foyle's experience as a child. A kerosene lamp was his sole source of illumination to read at night.
"Coming from a developing country (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), I always felt a responsibility to give back. Growing up I knew I wasn't the smartest kid in my class, or second, or even the third. There were so many who never got the opportunity to get an advanced degree. Basketball was a way for me to get an education," Foyle said.
The humility that Foyle articulates is evident by his post-basketball endeavors that are as impressive as his 13 years in the NBA. He has returned to school to receive a master's degree in sports psychology, authored two books, and in 2009 was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, which includes such icons and Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, and Pelé.
If you're looking for a way to have fun, rub shoulders with notable Bay Area sports figures like former San Francisco 49ers star Dwight Clark, former Oakland As' and San Francisco Giants pitcher Vida Blue, former Golden State Warriors star and broadcaster Jim Barnett, current voice of the Warriors Tim Roy and many others; or if you would simply prefer to spend a day on the golf course and dinner afterward rather than commuting to work -- this is your opportunity.
Dinner will include a silent auction ranging from sports memorabilia to cigars.
Tickets are still available at kerosenelampfoundation.org. You can purchase tickets for the golf tournament and dinner, dinner only, or for those unable to attend, you can make a contribution directly.
Supporting the tournament will be a wonderful way to help shine the light of possibility on those who may only know the darkness of their current reality.
Byron Williams is a contributing columnist. Contact him at 510-208-6417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.