Ayesha Curry Is Teaching Her 3 Kids to Be Kind to Others—and to Themselves

The famous mom talks giving back with husband Stephen Curry through Eat. Learn. Play., and teaching their three kids kindness.

Ayesha Curry

Yvonne Tnt & Madison Voelkel/BFA.com

Call it a proud parenting accomplishment for Ayesha Curry, who says her three children—Riley, 10, Ryan, 7, and Canon, 4—have been growing up with a desire to help those in need. It’s something that she and husband, Golden State Warriors NBA star Steph Curry, are teaching by example: The couple launched the Eat. Learn. Play. foundation in 2019 to give children in Oakland, California, safe spaces to play, free meals, and books. (They opened the first of their goal of 150 libraries in the city earlier this year.) And they are front and center engaging with the community in person, philanthropy their kids get to witness.

“Now it's interesting because it's to the point where they want to help so much that we have to kind of explain to them sometimes why they can't come with us to certain things,” Curry tells Parents at Town & Country’s ninth annual Philanthropy Summit in New York City. “I feel like it's just a part of the way that we're raising them. It's a part of the way that we were raised. And so, it's becoming a part of our DNA now, which I think is really important for us to instill in our children so that it can be passed down from generation to generation.”

Passing on kindness is critical as disparities continue to plague communities across the country. The Currys have focused on the local community they had lived in for over a decade, an area where more than 18% of residents are living below poverty level and children are struggling with literacy. According to the foundation, only 15.4% of Black and 12.5% of Latinx elementary school students in Oakland are reading at grade level. Nationwide, about 34% of students were below basic reading level in the fourth grade, according to 2019 statistics from the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Academic issues only intensified after the pandemic, with research from McKinsey & Company in 2021 showing students K-12 were four months behind on average in reading by the end of the school year.

“Kids were struggling before and now it's even worse when it comes to literacy,” says Curry. “And by third grade, if kids aren't reading at their reading level, they're kind of set up to fail. That’s just not fair.” Research shows students who are not reading proficient by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers.

Solely focusing on literacy likely won’t fix the problem, though. That’s why the foundation hones in on three pillars: nutrition, education, and physical activity. “These issues are interconnected, and so a child's ability to become a great reader is hindered if he or she doesn't have access to the nutritious food that they need, and the same in terms of physical mental health,” says Chris Helfrich, CEO of Eat. Learn. Play. “Kids in Oakland and kids around the country need that badly right now.”

Families across the country can help, especially during the upcoming holiday season. That could be by giving to organizations like Eat. Learn. Play.—which promises to give 100% of donations to support kids—or to their local food banks or other charities. "There's a lot of need right now and our true hope is that everybody gets involved and becomes part of the village," adds Helfrich.

As Curry continues to give back and spread kindness, the cookbook author has also learned the importance of being kind to yourself. “That's something that I forgot about for a really long time,” she says. “The self-kindness aspect of life, I feel like my husband's always done that. But for a while, as a mom, I forgot about it.” These days, she takes time for herself, whether it’s just having a cup of coffee in the morning in solitude, praying, or journaling (which includes writing down her dreams within the first five minutes of waking up).

And most importantly, she’s making sure her children are taking note, too, especially since she knows her two girls are watching. “I make sure that they're able to see those moments, whether it's self-care, or whether it's loving my body, or just being kind to myself, not putting myself down,” she says. “I forgot for a while to be careful of what comes out of my mouth about myself. It's something that I'm paying really close attention to now.”

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