Venus and Serena Williams just opened a center for gun violence victims in Compton.

These tennis stars are using their power to fight gun violence.

Venus and Serena Williams are incredible athletes.

But their recent work shows that their bold abilities reach far beyond the tennis court, too.  

Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images.


The two sisters just opened a safe haven for Compton residents affected by gun violence, which they're calling the The Yetunde Price Resource Center.

The center’s mission hits close to home for the tennis stars: They were raised in Compton, California, and their sister, Yetunde Price, fell victim to gun violence in Compton in 2003. Serena Williams opened up about the trauma from the tragedy in 2009 and how therapy was vital in her recovery.

The purpose of the center is simple: Community members who have directly or indirectly experienced trauma from gun violence will be connected with service providers who can provide assistance. The center's workers will also direct young people and their families to other resources available in the Compton area.  

"This is an incredible investment and commitment by Serena and Venus Williams, and I commend them for their desire to help children and families in Compton thrive," Mayor Aja Brown told The Root.

Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images.

The center is opening at a critical time in Compton.

The murder rate in the area tripled in 2016, and gang violence is starting to become more prevalent in the area. Compton has a long, difficult history with gun violence, so institutions like this resource center may play a huge role in changing the narrative for the city.  

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

The negative impact of gun violence is pervasive, particularly for communities of color, which is also why the Williams sisters stepped up.

The tennis champions have long been advocates for social justice in disenfranchised communities because they know firsthand how impactful violence can be for children (according to The Child Welfare League of America, children and youth exposed to chronic trauma such as gun violence can experience inhibited brain development).

Therapy, while beneficial, is often difficult to come by for minorities who live in areas with a lower socioeconomic status.    

When athletes and celebrities in power speak up against issues, it can help us make progress.

After Philando Castile's death was captured on camera, Serena Williams penned a heartfelt Facebook post about the dangers facing black men in America and police brutality. Her conversation helped spark other important conversations, too.

Now, with her sister, she's putting money and action behind those words, making it very clear that improving the world starts with improving your local community. It's a welcome show of kindness and strength in an often challenging world.

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There's a difference between dieting and being healthy, and often times, overattention to what you consume can lead to disordered eating. Eating disorders are dangerous and can affect anyone, but they're especially concerning in adolescents. Which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is facing intense criticism for its new app, Kurbo, targeted toward kids ages eight to 17.

The app uses a traffic light system to tell kids which foods are a "green light" and can be eaten as much as they want, which foods are a "yellow light" and should be consumed with caution, and which "red light" foods they should probably avoid.

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WW is calling the app "common sense." As Gary Foster, the chief science officer of WW, puts it, items in the red foods category "aren't foods that should be encouraged in kids' diets, but they also shouldn't be vilified or demonized, and there has to be a system that's simple and science-based that highlights that so everyone in the family can understand."

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Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity