<span style="">Three members of the New Orleans Saints, CB Mike McKenzie, TE Ronnie Ghent and LB Marvin Mitchell, spent time this week interacting with the children of the Boys and Girls Club located in the Iberville Housing Development near downtown New Orleans.
The Iberville Center of the Boys & Girls Club opened for the very first time less than one month ago. Parents and caregivers in the housing development have been pleading to establish a safe haven for their children. With so many distractions within their immediate environment, the club allows the children to engage in indoor activities like foosball, Pop-a-Shot, and air hockey, as well as educational computer games.
On this day, they had the opportunity to challenge (and dominate in some instances) Saints players in what has become a few of their areas of social expertise.
With almost fifty kids in attendance, McKenzie, Ghent and Mitchell stressed the importance of receiving a good education and embodying a true sense of self-confidence. Each player took some time to share stories of their quest in becoming an NFL player, while honing in on the need to be their own leader and not succumbing to negative peer pressure during the process. They also encouraged the children to take their studies seriously and to not be ashamed to ask for help when they need it.
"Those guys hit the nail on the head," said Darrell Guy, Director of the Iberville Boys & Girls Club. "Often times, these kids get so wrapped up in seeing the glitz and glamour of celebrities and professional athletes that they don't realize the hard work that was put in to get to that point. And none of it could have been done without receiving a good education and being confident in themselves to know that they could excel to that next level. Getting a good education is definitely key, just like they said. Without it, you can't do anything", he said.
For more information on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana, visit www.bgcsela.org.