How many times in person have any of us seen a 300 lb., 6’4″ Super Bowl Champion cry? Last week I saw it my first time.
Roland Williams is my personal friend, but our friendship began as I consulted with him about how to actualize his many brilliant plans on how to inspire and motivate people. The very first time we talked for a half-hour meeting, it turned into two hours and surprised us both. He’s also an author. What footballer writes? And many times he has been a featured sports analyst on TV networks which include CBS Sports Network, ESPN, MTV, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Nickelodeon, NFL Network, CNBC, Fox, Fox Sports Net, CBS and ABC.
You’d expect someone of his stature and accomplishments to be successful and tough. He is both of those things. And he’s also unusually articulate and smart. The man does amazing financial spreadsheets, for example. And, how many times have you heard a tough footballer quote anthropologist Margaret Mead to focus his audience? He has. Yet, besides the occasional clean tackler who caught him before he scored touchdowns, there’s one thing I now know which will bring him to his figurative knees.
Seeing young boys and young men suffer, from exactly where he grew up and went to school, made him cry. Rochester, New York the lowest rate of high school graduates in the nation, an abysmal, depressing, astonishing 9%. Roland has three young boys of his own. When he cried over the destroyed human potential in Rochester, he saw the dimly let roads he avoided when he was young. It was painfully easy to imagine his own boys struggling. So, he got busy in a huge way, stretching his own resources past their limits to create successful change.
Now, I don’t have to spell out for you what the cascading effect of a 9% high school graduation rate means. You already know and it’s anything but pretty. But what I could tell you is that we’re all less than six degrees of separation from anyone in the country. It’s vital that people show these young people who someone cares enough about them to support their success. Their lives depend upon it.
For the past eight months Roland put his shoulders and heart into solving the problem. He created an amazing, highly creative solution called the Champion Academy. He launched it in Rochester, and it’s happening right now. I ask that you right now navigate to its crowdfunding site, dig deep, and help his young charges achieve their dreams. Volunteer, donate, and dig deep to give. Then you might make him instead cry tears of joy, and you will have directly touched the first several hundred young boys and young men who deserve a break and a better chance than that through which they’re suffering. And depending upon your own level of commitment and involvement, it’s likely I’d bring him to your company to provide a rocket boost to your teams.
Roland has received many awards for his charitable efforts including the prestigious NFL Unsung Hero Award, he has twice been the Oakland Raiders Man of the Year, also the Press Radio Club Pro Athlete of the Year, and multi-year finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. His Champion Academy isn’t about the media limelight or athletic successes. It’s about saving lives.
Can you imagine the kind of amazing triumphal stories this man can tell? They’re big. But he doesn’t yet have one exactly like this, and it’s not about him. It’s about heart and compassion. Let’s make this about the young men he’ll gratefully save. They need us. They need you.