Dwight Howard leaves legacy of giving in Orlando

Boys and Girls Club, BETA House expect Howard charity to continue

Dwight Howard Foundation

ORLANDO, Fla. – There are a lot of people who are angry at Dwight Howard after his trade to Los Angeles, but there are also a lot of people in Orlando who are grateful for the time he spent in Orlando and all the times he gave of himself.

On the court, Dwight Howard is a showman embracing his superhero nickname and the spotlight.

But Howard's more important work he's done quietly and often without fanfare.
Gary Cain, president of the boys and girls club says it will be hard to replace a role model like Dwight Howard.

"He's that kind of rock start kind of guy. And the kids are awe struck and he's so big, but really what you see in him is a gentle caring individual," said Cain.

Diamond Henry, who attends the Boys and Girls Club in Pine Hills is thankful for Howard's commitment to her and her friends.

"I really thank him for everything he did for us. He's not only a good basketball player, but he's a good person," said Henry.

"I've seen athletes who don't take their time with kids seriously. He's one that steps up and believes that every individual is important," said Cain.

"You'll see pictures and memories of Dwight Howard in this building and those will stay there," explained Ruth Patrick, President and CEO of the BETA House as Local 6 walked the halls of the home and school which serves pregnant and parenting teens.

Patrick says Howard's impact is undeniable.

"We didn't have the computers and we didn't have the technology," said Patrick.
Besides popping in for visits, Howard donated the funds for this learning lab and followed that up by donating the car he won in 2011 as Defensive Player of the Year.

While Orlando will no longer be Howard's home, Patrick believes his charity will live on here.

"I expect him to be back in this community wearing a Laker's jersey, however it's still Dwight Howard and it's still Dwight Howard who is a BETA fan and will always be a BETA fan," said Patrick.

Cain agreed saying, "His good cheer, his demeanor, his spirit will be missed, you can't help but like Dwight if you get to know him at any level at all."

Beyond the Boys and Girls club and the BETA House, Howard worked with the Coalition for the Homeless, with local schools providing backpacks full of food every, and helped fund a technology room for pediatric patients at Florida Hospital for Children.

About the Authors:

Sports have always been Jamie Seh’s game and as the News 6 sports director, she’ll bring you coverage of all the hottest games. From the fields, to the courts, over to the ice, Jamie has the highlights you won’t want to miss and the stories you’ll want to hear.