DENVER (CBS4) – The Porter-Billups Leadership Academy is all about providing children an opportunity to excel regardless of their circumstances.
The academy’s founders Lonnie Porter, Chauncey Billups and Staci Porter-Bentley, took a group of children to the Pasadena/Los Angeles area for a visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
The goal of the trip was to expand their minds, their environment, and for students to better understand the importance of having math and science skills.
All the students who were selected had to prove themselves worthy for a trip like this. They worked, studied, and helped in their respective communities representing the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy.
“It makes me think things that I never would have thought before, like it takes my brain to a different place,” student Danyelle Randolph said.
But before students got a chance to feel moon rocks and talk to the nation’s most talented engineers and scientists about the importance of math, science and space exploration, they spent some time walking on the beach. Some did it for the very first time in their lives, while others wrote in the sand and just looked out at the ocean.
Porter-Billups began 16 years ago, and even its founder says this day has been a long time coming.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Lonnie Porter, who is also the basketball coach at Regis University.
He says exposing the students to the possibilities of what their future holds is key to the success of PBLA.
“To try to make them bigger, stronger and better; try to educate them try to; to try to place them in a position of leadership so that some day we can look back and say, ‘Oh yeah, the governor, the president, leadership academy kid,'” Porter said.
The other half of Porter-Billups is NBA star and Denver’s own Chauncey Billups. He says the leadership academy is his baby.
“Most of all us had a big momma who made you speak properly, made you have manners,” Billups said. “I take those lessons very seriously; so does Coach Porter who is that big momma or big daddy.
“I say that because what we’ve been able to change lives. Some of these kids come into our program at 7 or 8 years old, rowdy, reckless, going crazy. Two summers go by and their mannerism changes; they’re pulling out chairs for ladies at lunch time.”
“Right now I’m kind of confused because this all sounds so interesting,” student Amira Anderson said. “I thought I wanted to be a massage therapist, but now I’m not too sure.”
The PBLA accepts students of all ethnicities, regardless of their ability to pay.
If you’d like to make a donation to the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy, go to http://www.porter-billups.org.