Florida Tech Football Lends Hand At Fellsmere Charity Event

By  //  August 29, 2015

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A number of members of the Florida Tech football team have really taken that attitude to heart, making the trek out to Fellsmere on a weekly basis to volunteer their time and interact with the community. (FIT Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE FLORIDA – Although making an impact on the field is obviously a very important aspect of being a collegiate student-athlete, it is at least equally crucial to make a difference in the community.

A number of members of the Florida Tech football team have really taken that attitude to heart, making the trek out to Fellsmere on a weekly basis to volunteer their time and interact with the community.

J.J. Keels

J.J. Keels

During one of those recent trips five players, Mark Jason, J.J. Keels, Kaleb Leach, Juan Parra-Newton and Darrien Walker, volunteered at the Fellsmere Action Community Team (FACT) Getting Ahead Fair. During the morning the players assisted with the food bank, helping people carry boxes loaded to the hilt with donated groceries.

For the players, they got just as much out of it as the people they were volunteering for.

“It really brings peace to me,” said Walker. “You get to do something outside of football, relax and touch other people’s lives.”

Later in the day, they had the opportunity to spend some time with the young children in the area, playing a pickup basketball game.

“The kids just wanted us to come out and hang out with them,” Leach explained. “At that age, kids don’t care what string you are or what your name is. They see you’re a Florida Tech football player that plays college sports and it’s like ‘wow, he did something with his life.’

“My favorite part is when one of the kids comes up to me and asks ‘can I follow you on Instagram? Can I follow you on Twitter? Can I be your friend?’ I think that’s the coolest thing in the world.”

For Leach, the bond extended far past the end of the Getting Ahead Fair.

“One of the kids that participated in the Florida Tech camp, he and I talk on Instagram almost every day,” he said “I missed his football game this Saturday so I got in trouble but I’m going to go this Saturday. Just the fact that they want to know me and I can be an inspiration to somebody else means the world to me.”

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Walker, who explained he didn’t have much in the way of role models growing up, relishes the opportunity to set an example and keep kids out of trouble.

“It’s special to be able to mentor someone from a young age and help them become a better person,” he said. “If they had no role model then they could grow up and go down the wrong path. I’m not saying that these kids would but it’s always good to have someone to look up to and have someone to talk to.”

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