Hands were raised high, smiles brightened the room and conversations began. San Diego Chargers football player Steve Gregory met with first- and third-graders at Fayetteville Elementary School March 9 to discuss topics like teamwork, nutrition and building self-confidence.
To become a positive role model for youth, Gregory created the SG Squad under the nonprofit umbrella of Athletes for Education. The mission of this organization is to teach kids about the importance of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
When Gregory was young, he learned that in order to be a successful student athlete, he had to remain in excellent physical condition. However, a healthy lifestyle remained a challenge due to the lack of understanding in health and fitness by his peers in his hometown of New York City. Gregory now uses his past experiences to help others.
Gregory's visit to the school was initiated through friends in the area who have children at Fay El. Typically, he visits children in less fortunate communities on the West Coast who need guidance and encouragement on a daily basis.
Asked what he likes about touring schools and meeting with children, Gregory responded how he can be a good influence on kids.
"I never had a professional athlete [do this type of mentoring] in my life," he said. "To be in a position to do this is an honor."
"I truly believe that as a professional athlete you are given a gift that should never be taken for granted. Most importantly, it is vital to use your abilities and opportunities to positively affect America's youth. My goal is to teach children that they too can follow their dreams, but that it takes dedication to their own health, fitness, education and overall well-being."