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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 just opened a center for gun violence victims in Compton.

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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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.