JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More than 20 local youth football coaches and their players – all from rival teams – are coming together this weekend for the “Stop the Violence” Football Camp.
The ultimate goal is to spread a positive message and let the kids know that violence is not the answer.
Coaches from across Jacksonville are coming together and using their football platform to address an issue.
“We've got to get rid of the violence, it's just destroying everything,” said one coach who has children of his own.
Just last month, there were two drive-by shootings at parks in Northwest Jacksonville. Days later, a Mandarin high school graduate was found shot to death inside his car.
For these coaches, some of these incidents hit close to home.
“A couple of kids that we do know and that we have coached have lost their lives before they even had a chance to go off to college or anything like that; promising futures just cut short,” said a coach.
Coach Michael Holloway uses his role as an opportunity to make a difference. He said it’s his job to help these kids make good decisions -- on and off the field.
“Some of them might not be living in the best neighborhood, I might be the only outlet for that kid when he comes to practice in the evening time,” said Michael Holloway, a middle school football coach.
Even students are calling this violence nonsense. Many are appreciative of what their coaches are trying to do to make it better.
“Us players, we try to stay focused on our goals but we can't because all the violence so I think it's a great thing the coaches are doing for us,” said Christian Gibson, a Ribault High School student. “It can actually get a group of people to come together as one instead of just arguing and fighting all the time and I can help cut out some of the violence.”
Coach Joseph McCall said it will take the entire community to make a change.
“We are just trying to channel is focusing and try to get something positive instead of just coming out here and drawing X's and O's and throwing footballs and stuff like that. We just want to turn it into something positive and try to send a message and try to help our kids out, because these are all our kids- it takes a village,” said Coach McCall.
The event is for students 6th through 12th grade in our area. It will feature more than 20 area coaches, current and former NFL players, college players as well as upcoming college freshman. It will take place this Sunday, July 16th at Scott Park at 2745 Hamilton Cir, Jacksonville. Registration starts at 2 p.m. but online registration is available as well by clicking here.
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