This Friday, New York’s WNBA team New York Liberty and actress Nia Long will host a back-to-school celebration focused on mental wellness and providing students with resources outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature live entertainment and giveaways, as well as activations and tools provided by mental wellness organizations, school networks and New York Liberty corporate partners.

Liberty CEO Keia Clarke said the team and Nia Long shared the common goal of holistically supporting local youth in their return to school this fall.

Nia Long. Photo: Supplied.

“We understand the importance of mental, physical and social readiness, and the Back-to-School celebration will help our students, parents, teachers and administrators prepare for a successful academic year ahead.”

Long, who is a Brooklyn native, philanthropist and mother, said it was an honor to team up with the Clarke and the team to address mental wellness and provide emotional support for children and families in the community.

“As we prepare our children for back to school, it is important that we recognize and identify the devastating effects of this pandemic. This weekend is all about community and love,” she said.

The aim of the celebration is to offer the next generation of leaders wellness and educational resources they need to return to the classroom, Liberty said in a press release. Walmart will provide backpacks and school supplies for students who attend the pregame event, and TECHPLUG, Dissipating Disparities, Inc., Salveo Innovations, and Simple HealthKit will hold activations to ensure the community has the needed health information and resources for a safe return to school.

After the celebration, Liberty will host a game against Seattle Storm at Barclays Center where the team will give a custom pencil case and supplies to the first 3,000 fans at the game. Throughout the game, the team will recognize educators, counselors and other significant individuals who have dedicated their careers to the betterment of students, Liberty said.

Then on Saturday, Liberty will partner with Talkspace to host a panel discussion moderated by Nia Long, which will highlight the importance of mental health and family support for students, parents and administrators. The discussion will be streamed virtually and preregistration can be completed here.

The back-to-school celebration will take place on Friday, August 20 at 5:00pm on Barclays Center Plaza.

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