Houston Rockets power forward/center Dwight Howard received the March Community Assist Award in recognition of his charitable contributions and efforts in the Greater Houston area, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.

Last month, Howard’s D12 Foundation launched its grassroots program, “Block Out Violence,” within participating junior and senior high schools in Houston to promote anti-bullying, nonviolence, respect and acceptance. Howard began the campaign by hosting an assembly and a flash mob at Carnegie Vanguard High School, encouraging kids to help create safer campuses and communities. Thirty-two Houston schools have participated in the program, spurring thousands of students and their families to host events in their neighborhoods and post 800,000 positive messages of nonviolence on social media using the #BOV hashtag.

In addition to the “Block Out Violence” program, Howard has dedicated his time and resources to helping disadvantaged children and their families throughout Houston. Howard purchased 50 season tickets for kids as part of the Rockets for Youth ticket program. He also hosted a breakfast and provided gifts for homeless mothers and their children at the Salvation Army Residence Center in Houston. Extending his charity beyond his community, Howard worked with the D12 Foundation to provide $10,000 to the BETA Center in Orlando, an organization that provides support to teen moms and at-risk families.

“I’ve made it a point to give back to the community since my career began, and now that Houston is my home I want to make a difference here. I’ve been concerned about the violence and bullying that seems to be taking control of our schools and communities – not only in Houston, but throughout the country,” said Howard. “My hope is that the “Block Out Violence” campaign will motivate students to start grassroots movements in their schools that get them thinking and talking about the way they treat one another – ultimately, making safer schools and communities.”

During tonight’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier and Houston Rockets and Toyota Center CEO Tad Brown will present Howard with the David Robinson Plaque during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Howard’s behalf to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston.