Driving through the streets of Baltimore (and many American cities) I see young African American teens wondering the street with this sense of helplessness. It feels like a heavy lack of hope that a bright future can ever be theirs. Then I think of all the amazing talent African Americans have as part of their DNA (I just wish they saw themselves that way)... all the things they can do so much better than me naturally like public speaking, singing, dancing, athletics or anything else they put their mind to. What they need is opportunity and a vision of someone who has successfully made it from a similar situation as they are in. This is why I appreciate the Baltimore Ravens wide receiver LaQuan Williams' new Foundation dedicated to helping these teens.
The LaQuan Williams Foundation has an ideal mission and a practical methodology to improve the lives of at-risk teens by providing educational services, health and nutrition, volunteer initiatives, physical fitness programs, drug and gang prevention and internship opportunities. What it needs is all of our support. So before we get to our quick chat with LaQuan Williams, I wanted to share a comment from my interview with Tyrod Taylor, the Ravens quarter back (Tyrods interview will be coming soon.) Tyrod was one of the many professional athletes across the country who turned out in support of LaQuan's Foundation.
Gabrielle Reilly: So Tyrod why you are supporting the LaQuan Williams Foundation?
Tyrod Taylor: LaQuan Williams is a good friend of mine. I've known him since college and he is a great guy. He is giving back to his community which is my community too and I support that.
Gabrielle Reilly: So LaQuan, what advice can you give young athletes in pushing themselves to excel?
LaQuan Williams: Dream big. Work as hard as you can to reach that dream because there isn't a dream you can't reach.
Gabrielle Reilly: When you are in the fourth quarter of the game and totally exhausted, what goes through your mind to keep you motivated to keep going?
LaQuan Williams: Don't lose. It is all about being competitive and not wanting to lose. So I keep telling myself, don't lose.
Gabrielle Reilly: Tell us about your new Foundation.
LaQuan Williams: It is called the LaQuan Williams Foundation and it is to help at-risk teenagers and Lupus awareness.
Gabrielle Reilly: What inspired you to want to start the Foundation?
LaQuan Williams: To help kids have a voice in the community, that was my biggest motivation.
Gabrielle Reilly: LaQuan, thanks for your vision and dedication to living your life not just for yourself, but for the betterment of your community. Your life will be so much richer and you will impact people in ways you may never know. I wish you tangible success with your new Foundation. More information on the LaQuan Williams Foundation can be found here: http://lwfoundation.wix.com/lwf15#!mission/c1yws
A special thanks to Garry A. Smith Jr, Executive Director of the LaQuan Williams Foundation for running such a successful celebrity event on behalf of the Foundation.