The Edmond Sun
Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant isn’t bashful about heaping praise on his mother for the many sacrifices she made as a single parent to help him achieve his goals.
Now Wanda Pratt is helping other single mothers help their children.
Pratt, mother of Anthony and Kevin Durant, married Anthony’s father and then at age 21 gave birth to Kevin. Shortly thereafter, she became a single mother.
“After the initial shock of becoming a single parent, I just had to live,” Pratt said.
Pratt made a pact with God to dedicate her heart to raising her children. She used organized sports with her sons to help instill biblical, emotional and social values she believed are critical to rearing children.
Sometimes getting young boys up at 7 a.m. was a bit of a challenge. At an early age, both Anthony and Kevin decided to follow Jesus; Kevin was recently baptized. Anthony decided to become a Christian after connecting with a sermon at church.
Pratt describes Anthony, her eldest son, as a focused and determined go-getter. He relished the role of being the father figure in the family and taking care of his mom and younger brother.
When Anthony had an opportunity to go to a military school in Kansas, Pratt initially didn’t want him to go; he was someone on whom she relied.
Anthony called military schools and had them tell his mother the benefits of enrolling.
“Finally I said ‘Yes,’” Pratt recalls.
Anthony went on to graduate third in his class.
Recently, during a local event for single mothers and their children sponsored by Edmond’s Arise Ministries, Anthony was in the audience while Pratt shared her story.
Pratt’s talk included wisdom for single mothers. She urged moms to treasure this season with their children because someday they are going to be all grown up. Following that comment, Anthony came forward and hugged his mom.
She will be back in Oklahoma City this June to again share her story, her wisdom and advice with single mothers in Oklahoma at the 2013 Single Moms’ Survive ‘N’ Thrive Conference.
KD OFF THE COURT
One day when he was about 9 years old, Kevin approached his mother and told her he wanted to be an NBA player. Pratt told him he could be anything he wanted to be, but she wanted him to ponder the decision for a while and get back to her. She told him about the consequences, the commitment and hard work it would take.
Kevin grew up outside of Washington, D.C. His mom introduced him to Taras Brown, basketball instructor at the Seat Pleasant Activities Center (Maryland). Kevin seemingly spent every day of his childhood there, working to become good enough to do what his idol — NBA star Vince Carter — did for a living.
Pratt’s discipline at home and Taras’ training in the gym turned Kevin into the player he is on the court and the kind of person he is off the court. Pratt said her greatest joy associated with being a mother is seeing Kevin and Anthony become the kind of men they admired as youngsters.
In 2011, Kevin put together the nation’s largest charity “All-Star” game in Oklahoma City. Proceeds benefited the Oklahoma Single Parent Support Network. At the game, Kevin and his mom presented the organization with $100,000 to support their work.
In 2012, KD launched the Kevin Durant Family Foundation, which supports funding organizations aligned with the very things that were helpful to Kevin as he was growing up — after-school and summer programs, single parents and education.
Growing up, when Christmas time came, there was always uncertainty about whether or not there would be presents under the tree at Kevin’s house but his mom always came through.
Accordingly, KD’s other charity work includes “Kevin’s Christmas,” when he has taking children on a shopping spree and out to dinner, distributed coats, gloves and other items to children and surprised foster children through Citizens Caring for Children, an Oklahoma City organization that got its start in Edmond.
IMCI, a nonprofit organization, has taken the lead in foundation management, serving as its lead contact for the public, community organizations, and other entities interested in working with Kevin and Wanda.
SURVIVE ‘N’ THRIVE
After retiring from the U.S. Postal Service in 2008, Pratt became overwhelmed with a long-ignored inner desire to find her life purpose beyond being a mother.
She travels the country speaking to children and teens on the importance of having a positive attitude and sharing her experiences with single mothers and women.
“I have come to realize that this is my passion, what I’m supposed to do in life — encouraging women and single mothers,” Pratt said.
Pratt will share her inspirational wisdom about being a single mother during the single mothers’ Survive ‘N’ Thrive Conference June 21-22 in Oklahoma City. Registration deadline is June 15. T-shirt deadline is May 24.
Survive ‘N’ Thrive, sponsored by Edmond’s Arise Ministries, was co-founded by Shelley Pulliam and Pam Kanaly, who taught a weekly Bible class to more than 250 women for nine years.
The ministry helps single mothers discover an escape route, other single moms who understand their plight and a God who cares, Kanaly said. For more information about the 2013 Single Moms’ Survive ‘N’ Thrive Conference, visit ariseministries.net/single-mothers/snt.
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