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Keys to the City

ericshainock's picture

Jaquiski Tartt is a safety for the San Francisco 49ers, but I doubt many people (even hardcore NFL fans) would recognize him on the street or even that he's a professional athlete. None of that matters though because Tartt is using his platform as a football player to make a difference in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

He recently hosted 150 kids in his hometown for a free football camp. The clinic focused on the fundamentals of football and also addressed off-field issues such as staying in school, saying no to drugs, and the importance of nutrition. The goal of the camp is so simple, yet so profound: allow one day of football training to impact the other 364 days of the year for each participant. Some of Tartt's friends who are also NFL players attended as the camp attendees were partnered off with a mentor or coach. Tartt said, "I have been blessed with great opportunities and I want to repay that favor to those children and let them know somebody does care. We have a lot of kids here in Mobile that deserve to have someone to look up to. I want to teach them the things that helped me get where I am now like the importance of education, work ethic and faith while having fun." He was given a key to the city of Mobile as it was a special day for both child and Jaquiski Tartt.

The most profound thing Tartt said was, "I'm just so thankful, so blessed to be here to be able to do this. If anybody would have told me 4-5 years ago I would be getting a key to the city of Mobile, I'd have thought they were crazy. It's a wonderful feeling. It's probably one of best achievements or awards I've ever received in my life." He is only 22 years old, yet he knows that he can make such a strong impact on the children in his hometown. Tartt is aware of his platform and knows that he needs to continue his charitable efforts throughout his playing career and beyond. The lesson learned here is that you don't need to be an NFL star or a star at the professional level at all to make a profound impact. While Tartt may not be able to command the dollars for a camp that some athletes do, he knows he is making a difference. No athlete needs to be everything to everyone; rather, it is important to stay in a lane and make an impact, whether it is big or small. If everyone plays his or her individual role, the world will be better off because of it.

Eric Shainock works for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as an Account Representative in the Strategic Partnerships division after previously working at Intersport, a sports marketing agency. He is a 2014 graduate of the Ohio University Sports Administration Graduate Program. Feel free to reach out via email: or on Twitter: @ericshainock.


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