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Avery Johnson, ESPN sportscaster, former NBA player (nicknamed the “Little General” while playing point guard for the San Antonio Spurs) and Dallas Mavericks head coach, along with nationally known youth professional speaker, Gabe Salazar, will be in the offices of nonprofit organization, Just Say YES (Youth Equipped to Succeed), to sign autographs, pose for photos and meet the public during North Texas Giving Day, September 18.    

Coach Johnson will be in the nonprofit’s office, located at 1819 Firman Drive, Richardson, Texas, to greet the public, sign autographs and pose for photos from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.    While he is there, Easy Slider’s food truck will be on hand during the lunch hour offering food to those who stop by.

Gabe Salazar will join Just Say YES’ high school STARS Mentors for free pizza and an ice cream truck from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Through the mentoring program, students who are on the track of dropping out are “matched” with sophomores, juniors and seniors to mentor them through the tough choices they will face during their high school years.  The Mentor teens will have an afternoon to talk with Salazar and be thanked by members of the Just Say YES organization for their important role in modeling healthy relationships, positive communication, safe dating, refusal skills and more to other teens.

Coach Johnson’s very personal story of overcoming many obstacles while growing up in the projects of New Orleans as the son of parents without high school educations and his subsequent professional sports success always captures the attention of high school youth.  Also an inspiring speaker and part of Just Say YES’ programming, Gabe Salazar speaks to youth of overcoming his obstacles of homelessness, hopelessness and gang influence to become the first in his family to go to college.  His message challenges teenagers and encourages them to make positive choices in their lives.

Coach Johnson and Gabe Salazar want to encourage the public to learn more about Just Say YES and their programs educating students through student assembly speakers and classroom curriculum.  The goal is to help teens say YES to their dreams and goals and no to destructive choices.  Just Say YES programs are customized for the specific needs of the individual school/organization and have been conducted in 38 states, reaching more than 500,000 students, parents and educators.

Gifts on North Texas Giving Day will help the nonprofit continue the STARS Peer-to-Peer Mentoring and other school programs, which are helping many at-risk students.  For more information please visit www.justsayyes.org or www.facebook.com/YouthEquippedtoSucceed