WASHINGTON (WUSA) — By Malcolm Johnson, Special to dc.highschoolsports.net
“Sound Mind…Sound Body! Sound Mind…Sound Body!”
This was the chant bellowing throughout the Coolidge High School gymnasium Friday afternoon from close to 100 football campers.
The mission of the Sound Mind, Sound Body Academy is simple; to improve high school graduation rates by encouraging underprivileged student-athletes to devote equal amounts of energy into academics, athletics, and life skills.
The Sound Mind, Sound Body Academy in association with Vernon and Vontae Davis, respectively NFL players for the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins, has helped change the lives of hundreds of young men in the D.C. area.
The Davis brothers grew up in the D.C. area and were amongst the nation’s highest recruits at their position once they had graduated Dunbar high school. Knowing what it’s like first hand to grow up in the District, there’s no one better suited to speak to aspiring football players then pro bowl TE Vernon Davis.
“I know what it’s like growing up here and I know some of the things these kids go through, so for me to be able to come back and know what’s going on, it makes things a lot easier for me because I can relate to what they’ve seen,” Davis expressed.
At a young age, kids are susceptible to any of the dangers that life may throw their way. Living in the inner city only increases their chances of being victims to the things so many children are unable to avoid. Everyone has a friend that at some point starts to make poor decisions and is forced to witness their own friends life on the decline.
“I had all types of friends who were making the wrong decisions. Selling drugs, skipping school, whatever it may be, so I had to begin to separate myself from those people. I had to worry about myself before I could worry about other folks, or my teammates,” said Vontae.
There’s so many ways to slip between the cracks and become another bad statistic at a young age in D.C. The Sound Mind, Sound Body Academy has proven themselves to help reverse those trends. 47% of African-American males (nationwide) graduate from high school. 83% of the students that attend the Sound Mind, Sound Body Academy graduate high school.
Seeing two professional football players who have graduated college in the Davis brothers, from their own neighborhood, should serve as added incentive for the campers to achieve the same goals.
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