NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— As a kid growing up in South Carolina, Zion Williamson spent a large share of his time playing ball at the local YMCA.

It was a safe environment for athletics and now that he’s in our city, he and his family are giving kids here the same opportunity.

Wlliamson says, “For me to be able to do it here, it means a lot for me, it’s coming from my heart.”

Prior to his recent contract signing, there was a lot of speculation from outsiders whether Williamson and his family would be willing to stay in New Orleans.

Williamson’s step-dad, Lee Anderson is the camp director and he says they’re here and investing in the neighborhood they live in.

“Since we’ve been here we’ve been following the local news and they’ve been a lot of crimes going on in the city and where we came from it was pretty much the same things,” said Anderson.

To that end, Williamson’s family has jumped in to use this camp as an example of giving back.

In an effort to guide the campers both inside and outside of the walls of the Y, Williamson offers this advice, “Hone in on your craft, keep working on the game and be yourself. And then make the best of the opportunities that are given to you.”

The Dryades YMCA basketball camp runs through July 29th and there are still slots available for kids that would like to attend.