Former Pacer 'Slam Dunks' For Charity

Metta World Peace Donates $40K To Indiana Community Health Network

A former Indiana Pacer and "Dancing With The Stars" contestant is shining a spotlight of generosity on some needy Hoosier children.

Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, gave thousands of dollars to help children with behavioral health needs.

World Peace donated nearly $300,000 to various charities across the county, with a portion of the money earmarked for programs in Indiana.

At a news conference in Los Angeles, World Peace presented a check for $40,000 to Indiana’s Community Health Network Foundation. The money was generated from raffling off his Lakers championship ring, 6News' Ericka Flye reported.

Kim Walton with the Community Health Network said the money will be put to good use.

"We could probably double the size of our school program and still not meet all the needs," Walton said.

The Community Health Network's programs serve students on site at Indiana Public, Lawrence and Warren Township schools, whose families can't afford mental or behavioral assistance. World Peace's donation will pay for an additional 14 kids to take advantage of the programs.

"It could be preventive services. It could be early intervention services, or it could be children who are really at risk to not be able to stay in the school system," Walton said.

Community Health Foundation was just one of three Indiana health care providers to receive a donation. Families Reaching For Rainbows and Reach For Youth also received funding.

World Peace said it was important for him to give back to Hoosiers.

"It's something that I wanted to do for a long time. Since (I) was in Indiana for such a long time, it was all of my fans that wanted my ring. It was Ron Artest and my fans. They helped the people in Indiana," World Peace said.

Community Health Network officials said they are grateful for the generous donation.

"Someone who's in the public spotlight who supports this work is pretty impressive," Walton said.

World Peace and his nonprofit organization, Xcel University, made donations to mental health providers throughout the country.

Community Health Network is Indiana's largest provider of school-based behavioral health programs, currently delivering care in 52 schools and treating more than 2,000 students annually.

After an application and interview process, the organization was awarded the donation to expand its services for child psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and specialists to provide on-site assessment, treatment plans, crisis intervention, therapy and other programs to students with behavioral health needs.

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