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NY Giants Mentor Inner City Children

Posted on January 23, 2018 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Provide Role Models and Inspiration

Cheering – and booing - at their first NFL football game ever - the NY Giants VS the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. in December - was just part of the excitement for 15 of the Washington Heights boys and girls we serve.  Even better, they said, was their chance to chat with former NFL NY Giants Linebacker and First Team pro Jon Beason, #52.  The only downer, they added, was their home team heroes, the Giants, lost.

The children, most ages 8 -11, attend PS 132 Juan Pablo Duarte elementary school in Washington Heights and participate in the Comprehensive After-School Services (COMPASS) afterschool program  run by Catholic Charities NY’s Alianza program.  The program aims to assist the Washington Heights/Inwood community by providing programs that will keep youth off of the streets and out of harm's way.

Funded by New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development, this free program is designed to aid and enhance the academic, cultural, recreational and personal growth of 150 children, grades kindergarten to 5th grade at PS 132 Juan Pablo Duarte. The program's primary objectives are to assist the participants with developing into successful adults by providing academic support services while engaging in age appropriate, cultural and recreational activities.

“A crucial component of this first-time event was to give participants strong male role models like Jon Beason in the hopes of creating future opportunities for young men of color who lack a positive male role models in their lives,” says Catholic Charities Alianza Afterschool Coordinator Angel Guillermo.

“We provide a safe haven,” he adds, “where young children can learn, play and cultivate relationships that can last a lifetime.”

One relationship these children would love to last was the one they began that day with pro player Beason.  He shared his dream of playing football with his awed listeners, telling about being drafted in 2005 by the Panthers; spending the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career in Carolina; and finally being traded to the Giants in 2013. He appeared in all 48 games from 2005-2007 before injuries took a toll on his career. He announced his retirement from the NFL in 2016 after playing pro football for nine seasons.

His bottom-line message was based on this life experience, he told the children...

They need to be prepared for all situations, he told them. And they should never give up. 

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