Guest blog post by Myron Rolle, a Florida State athlete and student, Oxford graduate, Rhodes Scholar, former NFL player, and advocate for foster children. He has held many Myron Rolle Wellness and Leadership Academy camps for children in foster care and today is holding the “Rhodes to Success” camp.
There was a small boy in foster care with glasses at one of the Wellness and Leadership Academy camps. He was small, diminutive, reclusive and not very social. I kept my eye on him all week and made sure he was encouraged to participate in the camp.
One day, Rudy Ruettiger came to speak. He was featured in the movie “Rudy,” which details the Notre Dame football career of an underdog player who was dyslexic. Rudy fought to get in the game and made a great, famous play.
At the Q&A with Rudy, the small boy began asking Rudy questions – right in front of the entire group. He was confident, active and had a new self-awareness.
The next day he was the only one to make it to the top of the rock wall. In a way it was symbolic. He had conquered his fears and his past. He was a new man. I ran over and gave him a huge hug and told him how proud I was of him for breaking out of his shell and overcoming his fears. He had completely transformed in just a few days.
I have never been a foster child. I cannot imagine the pain they have known. But I treasure the relationship that I, as well as my family formed with DCF years ago.
I dove right in, with the goal of finding out what made the kids laugh and forget their troubles, if only for a little while. I spoke with them about their dreams and their feelings to find out what I could do to offer them the most and help shape their futures.
The Myron Rolle Wellness and Leadership Academy was established as a means to instill within them the importance of education, a foundation of values, self respect, and the ability to better understand how to nourish and take care of themselves. I want this special population of young people to walk away with higher goals, better confidence and know that successful adults around them believe that they can achieve anything.
Today, 50 kids are at the “Rhodes to Success” event, which I hope will encourage the kids to aim high with their educations.
My time with the kids inspires me to continue working on my own football career and future work in the medical field. They have shown me that there truly is no limit to what we can accomplish.