By David McCoy

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — It wasn’t nearly the first time Tyus Jones paid a visit to Excell Academy in Brooklyn Park, but this one was special.

He’d recently heard they had a need.

So he took care of it — outfitting the school with a new learning lab, complete with 30 computer work stations and a projection system.

“You know, I felt if I can come in and help in any way possible,” Jones said, “I’d be willing to do so.”

It’s called the “Write Your Own Story” Learning Lab, in keeping with Jones’ motto, which he adopted when he was a student.

“Your life is your story,” Jones said, “and you’re the author.”

The lab will equip the school’s 400 students with the tools they need to pursue and develop their own passions and skills – to write their own stories.

On Monday, they saw it for the first time. A number of students gasped in awe as they checked out their new room.

“It motivates them,” said Justin Balvin, the school’s academic dean. “There’s a surprising number of kids that are in awe of professional athletes. So to get one in the building, and then to have Tyus have this incredible mantra about writing your own story, it really just resonated with our kids.”

It resonated with Jones, too.

“I was in their shoes once,” he said, “and I know how much it means to them. And that’s why I try to give back whenever I can.”

With not just his money, but his message. He wrote himself a pretty good story. And so can they.

“No matter what you want to be,” Jones said. “That’s kind of where my motto ‘Write Your Own Story’ comes in is, your life is your story and you’re the author. So you can write your story however you want it.”

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