Russell Okung, left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks and the sixth overall draft selection in 2010, hosted the 2nd Annual Okung 76 Fun Day Football Camp on Saturday, May 19. It was held at his former high school, George Bush H.S. in Richmond, Texas. The event stems from Okung’s charity, the Russell Okung UP Foundation, which was created in order to assist children in single-parent families and teach them the importance of education and social responsibility.
The football camp and cheer camp, one for the boys and the other for the girls, kicked off at 9 a.m. Running the camp with Okung were fellow NFL players Mike Bennett (RB – Oakland Raiders), Martellus Bennet (TE – New York Giants), and Amobi Okoye (DT – Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Following the two camps was “Fun Day” in which there was entertainment for the children including floats, food, and more.
In conjunction with the event, the UP Foundation along with Edu, Inc. will be providing scholarships for 50 high school students within the Fort Bend Independent School District and the Houston Independent School District, which are awarded at the camp. “We were really lucky this year to get a lot of sponsors that wanted to get involved and back up the event,” Okung said. “We’re looking for outstanding students that could really benefit from [a scholarship].”
Okung added that while the event itself hasn’t changed much from how it operated last year, he’s noticing a difference in the participation, both from athletes and sponsors, as word has spread more this year leading up to the camp. “The real difference I’m seeing is the involvement,” Okung said. “It seems that a lot more people in the Houston area have tried to get involved in the event this year.”
Because Okung spends the majority of his year in Seattle, both preparing for the season and playing for the Seahawks, he’s grateful for the opportunity to give back to his hometown community whenever he can make it back to Texas. “It really means a lot [to be able to hold the event at my high school]. They don’t get to see me around a lot. When they look at me, they see me as the guy that made it. So I think it’s really important that I send a good message to them.”
His foundation is something that means a lot to him, and he has put a lot of time and effort into attempting to guide kids onto the right path in order to help them achieve the success in life that he has. He explained that he named the organization the UP Foundation because that’s just what they want kids to do… move up, in school and in life. “The main goal of the foundation and the focus is to help out single-mother and single-parent families, but it’s really a lot more than that,” Okung said. “We’re also trying to educate kids and send them the right messages so that they make good decisions in life.”
He has extremely high hopes for the future of the UP Foundation and he plans to continue to watch it grow. For more information on the foundation and Okung himself, click here.