CORINTH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A Glens Falls basketball legend is giving back to his home region. Even if he has to do it remotely, the effect he hopes to have on a local school district will make waves.
On Thursday, Jimmer Fredette – Glens Falls local, current player for the Shanghai Sharks in the Chinese Basketball Association – got on a call with representatives from Corinth Central School District to talk about a gift. Jimmer Fredette runs the Fredette Foundation, a charitable group giving grants to schools around the country based on a central tenant. The foundation’s “Choose Kindness” program provides schools with curriculums and resources that are designed to create a kindness-centric culture in communities that need the help.
“It’s really cool to see,” said Fredette. “We looked at schools that submitted for the grant, and they all looked like they were looking to promote kindness and to have an infrastructure of kindness in their school district.”
Schools that are part of the “Choose Kindness” program are given a web portal. There are weekly lessons that can be taught in-person or remotely, or used before the school day begins. Weekly lessons are divided into themed months – the first theme is kindness as a concept.
There are classroom projects, books, videos and online articles – as wide a variety of tools as teachers need. The goal is to guide students through lessons in the importance of being good to each other in their daily lives.
Up until now, the program has primarily been used in Utah, where Fredette says it has seen great success. Bringing it to Corinth was part of a bigger push to expand, with the Saratoga County school district being one of 16 schools – and the first in New York – to sign on. And the choice was personal for Superintendent Mark Stratton.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing the Fredette family for several years now,” said Stratton, who previously served as principal at Glens Falls High School. “I can assure you that there’s absolutely no better family that epitomizes kindness. This family, they’re kind, they’re caring, they’re extremely generous, and they certainly have impeccable character.”
Fredette grew up in Glens Falls, starting his basketball career at the high school. He held the all-time Section 2 high school record there until 2015, and was named one of the U.S.’s top 75 shooting guards by ESPN while still in high school.
That start has taken him far from home – on Thursday, he was on the call while preparing to travel to China for the conclusion of the CBA season and playoffs. But it was no more lost on him than anyone that he was bringing a gift to a school close to home.
“Obviously we looked at some schools in Glens Falls, and different places, but one of the first calls we made was to Mark and Corinth and ask if they wanted to be part of the program,” Fredette said. “They were excited about it, and we’re excited about the partnership.”
When Jimmer started The Fredette Family Foundation roughly 11 years ago, he didn’t do it alone. At his side then, and on the call on Thursday, was his father and foundation co-founder, Al Fredette. The familial nature of the effort as a whole is, for him, the core of it all.
“Families are the building block of society. The schools and towns and cities and everything are stronger if we have stronger families,” he said.
Al said that when he and the team spoke to different districts, they saw an opponent that the kindness-forward program is exactly designed to counter. Many schools have bullying problems. In Al Fredette’s own words, kindness is the perfect solution.
“A truly kind person will never bully anyone, but they will help people being bullied,” he said. “And so, that’s the message.”
The “Choose Kindness” donation makes the full list of programs available to Corinth Central School District for free for the first year. Jimmer Fredette’s identity is all over them. “Jimmerisms” – sometimes quotes from the man himself, sometimes prompts – end each lesson, to drive the point home.
“Jimmerisms” can make up a lot more than just words. Corinth Elementary School Principal Renee Young brought up the example of this week’s lesson being used, which centers on teaching students how to be kind to themselves.
“This whole lesson is easily laid out, and it ends with a dance party,” Young explained. “We’re very excited for this dance party tomorrow because at the end of our ‘Choose Kindness’ lesson, everyone at the school will be showing kindness to themself by engaging in that dance party.”
The “Choose Kindness” program was developed in cooperation with The Cook Center for Human Connection. More information can be found online.