Roland Williams Launches Mentoring Program for Urban Young Men
East High School alum and Super Bowl Champion Roland Williams is kicking off a new mentoring program here in Rochester for urban young men.
After multiple proposals and negotiations with the city school district to help improve its football program, Williams launched the Champion Academy on Tuesday. The city school district is contributing 34,000 to the program. Williams says he's using some of his own resources to get the initiative off the ground.
The Champion Academy includes recreational activities, positive mentorship, celebrity appearances, sports and life skills training.
"It's about helping young men learn how to stand and defend the cause, which is them,” says Williams. “Not looking for other people, and looking for what you don't have. But looking at what you do have. I’m a living testimony that you can go off of what you do have and go be successful."
During Tuesday's announcement, Williams spoke about growing up in Rochester and how the community is in a crisis. He calls himself answering the call to help out his hometown, but he says he can't do it alone. Williams says the community can help in three ways: donating funds, volunteering or sharing the vision of the mentoring program.
"It's so important I think that we get people who care around them. Our biggest criteria is do you care? Are you committed? Do you believe in standing for them? [People who] believe in things that are ethical and moral and right. If you have that then that's a great start."
The Champion Academy beings with a free, 10-day educational summer camp for up to 500 city school students between the ages of 12 to 18.
The program runs from August 4th until the 15th at Charlotte High School.