By: Ryan Velez
Former NFL player Darrell Green has an intimate understanding of what it’s like to grow up with hardship. His childhood was spent in an impoverished community, with divorced parents and several families grappling with substance abuse. For him, football managed to be a way to see beyond his circumstances and create a successful life for himself, starting by being a first-round draft pick for the Washington Redskins before going on to have a successful career. Now, Newsone reports that Green is trying to help teens via his Strong Youth, Strong Communities (SYSC).
Part of his initiative is understanding that some of the issues at-risk teens may be dealing with may be similar to those decades ago, but many of them are completely new or on a scale unfathomable back then. Newsone mentions things like bullying, suicide, drug and substance abuse, and teen pregnancy. To put some of these in perspective statistically, suicide is the third-leading cause of death between young people between the ages of 10 and 24. In addition, 60 percent of teens say that drugs are being sold, used, or kept at their school, and 40 of the country’s homeless population are teenagers.
“If I can use my influence and access to create opportunities for youth, then I feel like I’m making an impact,” Green told NewsOne. “SYSC seeks to help the youth so that they can discover a positive way to lead their lives. We guide them in building their own foundation to stand on. We want to show them that they can overcome obstacles, but that ultimately relies on your thought process when it comes to navigating your life. Through this initiative, we want to illustrate the importance of having wisdom, integrity, character, and vision which is the recipe for success.” The organization recently held three summits in Florida, and Joyce Larkin, VP of Corporate Community Relations at Centene, explained how they were well needed.
“Schools are stressed in regards to resources. Budget shortfalls closed a lot of community establishments designed to help the youth,” she said. “We want to close that gap and use this program as an avenue for mentorship. Kids want to have assurance that they can get back up after they’ve been knocked down. The youth are resilient. They are tomorrow’s leaders. We have to invest in them. Community organizations need to come together and find a solution to their problems.”
Read more from Newsone at: https://newsone.com/3823551/strong-youth-strong-communities-darrell-green/