Athletes Give Back In today’s society, when you turn on the news, more often than not you hear about yet another star or athlete getting in trouble with the law. Whether its drunk driving or stealing, many people in the limelight today choose to make the wrong choices. Just when we think all hope to find a star capable of being a role model is gone, a select few choose to do the right thing. Many are choosing to give back to their communities and have their own foundations and charities that help kids, their cities, and more.
Today, athletes have an especially strong impact on kids as they grow up wanting to become like their sports idols. I live in San Diego, and the San Diego Chargers are professional athletes that many local kids, including myself, look up to. Three of the many current and former Chargers stars aren’t just stars on the field, but off it as well. Quarterback Philip Rivers, cornerback Quentin Jammer, and fullback Lorenzo Neal have, and always will be, people who have had a very strong and positive impact on their community.
In recent interviews, the athletes told me how they give back to San Diego. Rivers told me about the foundation he recently started, the Rivers of Hope Foundation. He and his wife, Tiffany, started Rivers of Hope after six years of really taking their time to develop a foundation they really care about. The foundation is all about helping kids, specifically here in the San Diego County. Rivers ultimately wanted to create the foundation because he wants all children to have love and hope. With five children of his own and a sixth on the way, it kills Rivers to think that there are children in his own city who don’t have loving homes. He can now help some of those kids through his foundation, which does everything from funding children to finding them homes, Rivers’s ultimate goal.
In my interview with Jammer, he told me about his charity, the San Pasqual Academy, a foster school program that he and his wife created. San Pasqual provides schools and dorms for children in need. It not only provides them with a great education that they probably wouldn’t have gotten normally, but a living facility and after school programs such as sports. Jammer had many strong influences in his life, mainly his mom, who he thanks for keeping him on his humble path as a star athlete. He created his foundation so that he could give back whatever he could to kids who were like him once. He wants to give back the mentoring that he received growing up and has begun to do so through his foundation. He hopes to spread this wonderful foster school concept around the country.
Unlike Rivers and Jammer, who both have their own foundations, Neal does not. But he is involved in many other active foundations around San Diego and the country. He is very involved with the Red Cross, United Way, Big Brothers and Sisters Foundation, and more. He feels it is very important for kids to dream and for them to have every opportunity to reach their goals. He pairs with these charities to allow kids these opportunities and for them to become better people and leaders in the process. Neal knows no one is ever perfect in life, but he wants everyone, especially kids, to keep striding for greatness.
Each of these stars has no doubt chosen the right path in life and how they have chosen to use their voices. Rivers, Jammer, and Neal are all part of the growing number of stars and athletes who give back to their communities daily. So maybe the next time you turn on your TV, you will see the good coming from the athletes of the world. And you never know, they might just give us hope.