This week I (Amanda Ponzar) am giving a voice to my friend & colleague, Tracey Holmes to share about Team NFL (I wrote about Riley Cooper a few weeks ago). Take it away, Tracey!
It is human nature to generalize, stereotype, define people based on our own experiences to date. But every once in a while, people surprise you in ways that blow your expectations out the window and your aspirations to the moon.
Some thought it was too much to ask of an NFL player. Three days of their vacation time to hang out at American University with students from challenged high schools from across the country...eating college food, hanging out in college dorms. Wake up calls at 6:00 a.m. followed by long days of learning, sharing, brainstorming and interviews.
Not just present in their attendance but present in their participation. Actively taking notes, sharing their perspectives, leading discussions, developing presentations. An earnest effort to learn and develop ways to engage more people as volunteer readers, tutors and mentors so more of our kids graduate high school on time and prepared for success.
So if your definition of NFL players is based solely on salacious news clips, the actions of a few loud voices or reality TV, I encourage you to add this perspective to the mix. And when you think of them as heroes on the field of play, know that they are heroes off the field as well because they are making a difference in the lives of our kids. You can too by pledging to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. Join the team!
Big SHOUT OUTS to the following TEAM NFL players who made the 2012 United Way Youth Empowerment Summit a GREAT success:
National Team Captain, NNAMDI ASOMUGHA, Philadelphia Eagles; CALAIS CAMPBELL, Arizona Cardinals; VONTA LEACH, Baltimore Ravens; CAM NEWTON, Carolina Panthers; VINCENT REY, Cincinnati Bengals; JOSHUA CRIBBS, Cleveland Browns;BRANDON CARR, Dallas Cowboys; VIRGIL GREEN, Denver Broncos; CLIFF AVRIL, Detroit Lions; GREG JENNINGS, Green Bay Packers; GLOVER QUIN, Houston Texans; ANTOINE BETHEA, Indianapolis Colts; EBEN BRITTON, Jacksonville Jaguars;CHRIS CANTY, New York Giants; D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON, New York Jets; MICHAEL HUFF, Oakland Raiders; RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles; and CHARLIE BATCH, Pittsburgh Steelers.