According to Muhammad Ghandi, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose your self in service.” Service is one of the focal points the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl hopes to instill on the NFL-bound hopefuls in attendance. For the second time, the NFLPA has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity (HFH) of Greater Los Angeles to strengthen communities by building or renovating homes for children or families in need.
Since their founding in 1990, HFH has built/renovated over 800 homes locally and internationally with merely volunteer labor and donations. With this in mind, the American Team got their hands dirty volunteering. This particular service project was no easy task and encouraged teamwork from the diverse group of college players. A great example of this was Josh Francis, LB from West Virginia, working alongside Marcus Cromartie of Vanderbilt. The two put their heads together to assist in the building of a fence in the back yard of the Compton, California home work site.
Francis explains, “It’s been fun coming out here with all the guys to serve. We are helping build homes to make an easier life for the less fortunate. It’s important that when we make it to the league we give back. As players we go the extra mile to help people in situations. This (Habitat for Humanity event) is meant to help prep us to be tools to help put others at the next level.”
On the other side of the house was Mike Butler, decked out in his hard hat. This NFL hopeful from Fresno State, was honored to be a part of such an amazing community building effort.
Stanford’s stand out wide receiver, well know smart guy and philanthropist, Jamal-Rashad Patterson was in full volunteer mode. During event he was able to paint some of the fence surrounding the property. He may have missed a few spots, but felt good about his work. Patterson came away from the experience enlighten with the spirit of service. He expresses, ” We were able to give back to the community, we all have families, and we just want to make it (lives) better.”
The Ohio State’s Orhian Johnson understands that life can be a challenge. “I know what it’s like to live in a tough neighborhood. I went through a tough time growing up, that’s why I enjoy doing things like this.”
It’s clear the NFLPA American Team all agree that the Habitat for Humanity LA Build was a great way for the players to lose themselves in making a difference before the big game.