As a kid, Donald Redd wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grew up. Now an adult, the after school athletics specialist has the answer: as many things as he wants.
Mr. Redd has been a signed recording artist, owner of Harlem’s first-ever coffee shop, and a manufacturer of African natural resources like shea butter, gold, and nuts. He’s also been an activist, inventor, and a U.S. Marine.
But perhaps he’s found no greater joy than in his latest stint: table tennis coach at Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy After School Athletics Program. In his role, the octogenarian instructor imparts lessons from his life as a globetrotting Renaissance man: try new things, don’t be afraid to fail, and most importantly, know the power of your potential.
“I tell my kids, ‘The possibilities of who and what you can be are truly endless,’” Mr. Redd says. “‘You can do it, you just don’t know you can do it.’”
Dedicated to the Game
Mr. Redd is one of the many dedicated instructors at Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy After School Athletics Programs. Through these programs, our scholars get the support they need to meet their potential, discover their interests, and thrive in and out of school.
“Whether in this sport or in life, I want my students to find that potential and power in themselves,” adds the athletics specialist.
In Mr. Redd’s classes, scholars can challenge each other, practice with “robots” (ball-throwing machines), or go up against the teacher himself. Playing across from the athletics specialist can be intimidating. But what better way of upping up your game than by going one-on-one with a ping pong prodigy?