Vontae and Vernon Davis
*NFL brothers and Washington, DC natives Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers and Vontae of the Miami Dolphins, have spent their off-season participating in a number of philanthropic endeavors both abroad and here at home. In addition to their fundraising and subsequent mission trip this spring to Uganda and Rwanda with Pros For Africa where they distributed food, filtration straws for clean drinking water and fit hearing aids donated by The Starkey Hearing Foundation, this week their mission continues here in DC.
The Davis brothers will co-host the “Sound Mind, Sound Body®” football academy, a two-day intensive sports training and academic enrichment program taking place at Howard University Thursday and Friday June 23-24th. The “Sound Mind, Sound Body®” football academy is part of a multi-city community based sports and academic enrichment program that takes young men from inner-city communities and mentors them into college on sports scholarships.
This week, more than 300 young men from across the Metro DC region will take part in this two-day event filled with athletics, academics and life skills training geared toward fostering their interest in a college future.Joining the Davis brothers for this program will be coaches from the NFL and top colleges from around the nation along with their NFL player friends and college academic advisors.
Vernon and Vontae are both graduates of DC’s Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and attended the University of Maryland and University of Illinois respectively.”Sports was the vehicle for me to attend college and football has since become my life,” says Vernon.”My hope for these young men is that they will dream of a better life, visualize the steps needed to achieve their goals and then give 150% to make it happen.”Vontae agrees. “My brother and I feel like anything we can do to encourage young men and to help make their lives better is an honor for us, especially here in DC where we grew up.”
“We’re heartened that Vernon and Vontae wish to give back to the community by being role models and mentors for young men coming up behind them,” adds Siraaj Hasan, President of the Lifting As We Climb Foundation. “As public funding for youth programs decreases, so go vital opportunities for underserved youth across the nation to find and take part in activities that prepare them for today’s competitive economic environment. These young men need resources to help them succeed and avoid at risk behaviors that often lead to incarceration, even death.”
The Lifting As We Climb Foundation kicks off it’s 8th Annual “Sound Mind, Sound Body®” football academy on June 23-24 at Howard University.The camp is Free for DC residents ages 13-18.
To make a donation, or find out more about the program visit www.LiftingAsWeClimb.com.
About Lifting As We Climb/Sound Mind, Sound Body
To date, the foundation has served more than 5,000 young men across the country. Among the colleges, “Sound Mind, Sound Body®“ participants have gone on to attend include: University of Alabama; Hampton; Michigan State; New Mexico; University of Michigan; Iowa; Morgan State; University of Richmond; and Tennessee State. Founded in 2003, by five Hampton University alumni devoted to making a difference among underprivileged youth.
Last month in DC, more than 250 donors and supporters joined foundation organizers and the Davis brothers at the palatial ballroom of the Organization of American States headquarters for an exquisite fundraising evening of music and fine dining all to benefit The Lifting As We Climb Foundation. During that May 3rd gala, many supporters pledged they would continue to ensure that the lives of these young men would be made better through their ongoing philanthropy. A vibrant silent auction, jazz ensemble and gourmet tasting stations from noted DC caterers and establishments greeted guests as local NBC reporter Tracy Wilkins served as emcee. The gala included award presentations and remarks by foundation heads, community leaders, academy alumni and area athletes committed to raising the more then $40,000 thousand dollars needed for this month’s 2011 two-day academy. Proceeds from the gala are benefiting the DC academy and others throughout the country as well as the foundation’s year long academic programs. “This is what makes the more than $25,000 thousand dollars raised at this year’s Lifting as We Climb Foundation’s “Grasping the Dream” gala so important,” says Hasan. “There is still financial support needed for next week’s ‘Sound Mind Sound Body®’ football academy in DC and for ongoing academic tutorial programs offered here and throughout the nation.
To view highlights of last month’s fundraiser, click on the link for the video http://vimeo.com/25234995.
Guests in attendance at the fundraising gala included the son and daughter of legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington (April & Edward Ellington of The Savoy Ellingtons), NBA legend and Washington Wizards Analyst, Phil Chenier in addition to corporate sponsors from Booz Allen Hamilton; Quadrant, Inc.; the NFL and private donors and civic leaders including DC Council Member Yvette Alexander. The Davis brothers and the Lifting as We Climb Foundation were honored earlier that day with recognition from the City Council of the District of Columbia for their contributions to young men in the city and throughout the country. “I hope all who attended the gala understand the difference they are making in the lives of these young men,” says Curtis Blackwell, Vice President and co-founder of The Lifting As We Climb Foundation. “The impact we are having is changing lives,” adds Blackwell, who spearheads the “Sound Mind, Sound Body®” football academy in Detroit, Michigan. This week, 600 young men were in attendance in Detroit along with more than 200 coaches from leading colleges and universities across the nation providing instruction on the field and classroom-style life-skill sessions.
About Red Sea Entertainment
Red Sea Entertainment specializes in publicity and branding in the film and television industries and also represents a select roster of personalities. Film projects include the sports documentaries “More Than A Game” and “Tyson,” chronicling the rise of NBA star LeBron James and world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, respectively, Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter,” Quentin Tarantino’s Academy-Award winning “Inglourious Basterds,” Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls,” “Precious,” “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” the films “Scream 4,” “Faster” starring Dwayne Johnson, Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters,” the Emmy-Award winning TV series “Soul Food,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and Spike Lee’s films “Malcolm X,” “Jungle Fever,” ”Get On The Bus” and “Mo’ Better Blues.”
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