In December 2009, many New Orleans Saints players took under-privileged youth from the Boys and Girls Club of New Orleans on a Christmas shopping spree as part of the NFL YET program. The YET (Youth Education Towns) program was set up by the NFL to positively impact youth living in at-risk neighborhoods in Super Bowl host cities.
With the desire to maintain his connection to the kids, New Orleans Saints safety, Malcolm Jenkins promised to take them to a Saint's game if they kept up their grades in school. This Friday, August 27th, Jenkins will make good on that promise by sending 12 of the children to the pre-season game in the Superdome against the Chargers. The children will be guests in the suite purchased by Malcolm Jenkins for this season.
According to Darrell W. Guy, Sr., executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of New Orleans, the 12 youth chosen to go to the game all showed improvements in their grades and behavior since Malcolm Jenkins made his challenge in December. The group consists of boys and girls over the age of 12, all of whom participate in the Boys and Girls Club Junior Doctor Program. "We want to thank Mr. Jenkins for honoring the challenge he made in December. It is something that the children will always remember," says Guy, Sr.
The NFL donates $1 million toward each NFL YET project and requires each host city to establish a 10-year operating plan, which includes a funding commitment for ongoing operational, management and program expenses. The NFL enlists the support of Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to manage the initiative and work hand-in-hand with local NFL YETs to ensure that they offer programs and services that most effectively meet the needs of their communities.
Jenkins, who has committed himself to uplifting New Orleans youth and giving them constructive alternatives to violence, sees this trip to the game as a reward to positively reinforce the group's educational achievements. According to Jenkins, "I want to mentor and influence our children by fostering educational and recreational activities that engage them in affirmative ways". At this Friday's game, the children will receive 'VIP' treatment in the suite atmosphere with delectable food and a visit from their patron after the game.
Malcolm Jenkins, originally from Piscataway, New Jersey and a graduate of Ohio State, was drafted by the Saints in the first round, 14th overall, in the 2009 NFL Draft. Since arriving in New Orleans, Jenkins decided the best way to give back to the local community is by raising awareness of the social concerns negatively impacting youth and by developing initiatives to combat these issues. In the future, Jenkins plans to start a not-for-profit foundation to support his youth initiatives.