Mother’s Day is this Sunday. We’d like to take a moment to thank all of the mothers out there. Where would we all be without a motherly figure in our lives? They love us, take care of us, make us feel better when we are sick and give us advice as we get older. They make sacrifices that we may never be aware of. They do all of this because they love us and there are not many things better in this world than a mother’s love.
So thank you for being our heroes. Thank you for teaching us to make the right choices in life. Thank you for all that you do. Make sure you take the time to let the mother’s in your life know how much you love and appreciate them.
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “3.7 million people in the United States work as elementary and secondary teachers in public schools.” That is a whole lot of people impacting and helping to shape the future of our nation. Sadly, the National Education Association estimates about 45% of teachers leave the profession in their first five years. Teaching is often a profession that is not appreciated for the impact it has and the hard work that goes in to it.
Teacher Appreciation Day was established to recognize the hard work and dedication teachers put in every year to help students grow. Here is a brief history overview of Teacher Appreciation Day from the National Education Association.
“The origins of National Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.
NEA, along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) Local, lobbied Congress to create a national day to celebrate teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only.
NEA and its affiliates continued to observe National Teacher Day in March until 1985, when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the event to Tuesday of the first full week of May.”
Everyone here at Sports World.org would like to express our appreciation for teachers and all other school staff that work hard to help students grow and learn. We are honored to be able to go into schools and encourage positive choices with their students. We may present the message but the teachers and staff are the ones there every day to help reinforce it and for that we would like to say thank you. If you have not taken the time to thank a teacher recently, we encourage you to do so this week. Those small words of encouragement can make all the difference and they surely deserve it.
I grew up in the church my whole life but I strayed away during my years in high school and college. When I was blessed with the opportunity to play football in the NFL I was in the worst state of my life. The way that I tried to make things better was to smoke, drink, take advantage of women, and cheat my way through. Living this life, I was not able to have any joy or peace in my life at all. There came a time when I was very close to losing my wife and son and I knew something had to change. I had been running from GOD my whole life and knew I needed to run towards Him. I truly accepted the Lord in my life and today I live happily with my wife and our three sons. Jesus Christ gave me the joy and peace I was looking for on my own and I thank Him daily!
- What has been one of the best teams you have been on and why?
I loved playing for the Colts because of their winning record and I got to start in the Super Bowl.
- What was the best stadium that you played in and why?
The University of Phoenix Stadium was my favorite stadium to play in because it is an indoor field but has real grass.
- Who is a “hero” in your life and why?
My high school coach, Michael Rucker, is one of my heroes. He taught me the importance of working hard.
- What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is ackee and saltfish with callaloo and fried dumplings.
- What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie growing up was the Sandlot.
- What are your hobbies?
I love to cook!
Dear Friends at Sports World,
I simply cannot thank you enough for the superlative opportunities you have afforded us here at The Phoenix School of Discovery, a JCPS Alternative School for low-income, atypical, somewhat fragile youth. From the instant Nicole Grady offered this incredible opportunity, to the moments of delivery by such dedicated athletes, like Steve Grant and Devon McDonald, we were TRANSFORMED!
The first time Nicole contacted us, she assured us we would really enjoy Steve. “Enjoy” was not the word!!! He “captured” us all…students, teachers, administrators, security guards… We were “wowed” by his encouraging, positive exhortations and the kids left dazed and amazed at what they had felt and heard. His second visit was even more impactful than the first, engaging the kids in an interactive discussion about dating, personal expectations, life purpose, and goals. It was tremendous.
Then, another call from Nicole (thank you, Nicole!) came. Sports World had another representative she would like us to invite, and I did not have to think twice!! Needless to say, Devon McDonald presented to our entire student body and they were spellbound (quite a feat for our population!) during the entire delivery.
They connected with Devon’s personal stories of failure, lost dreams, periods of hopelessness, and the often depressing realities of life, but immediately were influenced and empowered and lifted by his stories of setting goals and meeting them, choosing the standard of excellence for himself, developing respectful relationships around him and most of all, realizing that every choice he made would have a consequence or a benefit. It was brilliant!!
Devon had no idea, but at that very time, one of our male students was considering suicide, had actually attempted it once before, and had just spoken to me in the moments prior to his presentation. I stood beside that boy on the gym floor watching him as he listened to Devon. I honestly had no idea how what Devon was saying was affecting him.
After Devon finished his message, the boy asked me if he could go up and meet him, because he had made him see that “even famous people” go through the same things as he has suffered. He had no idea. Devon had just saved this boy’s life. I told Devon after I introduced the boy to him and he went on with his classmates and Devon was visibly moved, almost to tears. He stood in amazement and we basically rejoiced together. That, my friends, was no less than a miracle…and that young man is doing great today!!!!
I don’t know how many other students in other schools have been transformed like those in our school, but Sports World has played a major role in giving our kids hope, connections to real and successful people, and has empowered them (by real men living real lives sharing real failures and real successes) to tackle their obstacles and use their failures as foundation stones to their futures.
We have been transformed by our exposure to Sports World and the dedicated advocates that serve there. We are privileged and honored to have hosted such astute, gracious, and influential guests at the Phoenix and hope our relationship will continue for many more years. We cannot do our students justice, without your input and opportunity. “It takes a village…” and I am so glad we are a part of yours.
And by the way, our motto at Phoenix is
RISE, TRANSFORM, and SOAR.
Sports World surely must have thought of it first!!!!!
With my utmost gratitude and respect,
High School Counselor
The Phoenix School of Discovery
Orig. Post March 26, 2015 by Sports World
Easter is just around the corner. To many of the students we speak to, Easter brings to mind images of bunnies, eggs, and candy. Those things are good and fun but Sports World brings something even better. We bring the message of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for their sins. Easter is about remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for us all and the forgiveness it brings.
We all fall short at some point in our lives and are in need of forgiveness or another chance. Maybe we’ve hurt someone we love. Maybe we we’re doing things we knew were not healthy. Or maybe we just feel like we aren’t good enough. All of those things, and more, happen to us all at some point. The biggest mistake is to let those failures define us.
Our message to students is that their past doesn’t define them. That is the beauty of this life. We have the freedom to choose. If we choose to dwell on the past, we may find ourselves in a cycle of negative situations. If we choose to find forgiveness and move on, we may find ourselves breaking out of our current cycle and end up chasing our dreams.
Finding forgiveness can be hard at times, but it is necessary if you want to live a more God centered life.
Steps to living in the joy of forgiveness:
Ask for Forgiveness – This can be a very challenging step. It is hard to admit when we are wrong and when we have hurt someone. Asking for forgiveness shows that you understand what you have done and that you want to mend the relationship. Losing the weight of regret can help you see things more positively in your life and relationships. Just know they may not forgive you right away or ever. Don’t hold that against them.
Forgive Yourself and Others – Possibly the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself but doing so will drastically change your outlook on life. You will see yourself for the person you are instead of the person you may have been.
Receive God’s Forgiveness – Jesus bore our sins on the cross. He paid our debt in full. When we receive Jesus Christ we get the assurance that God is no longer angry with us.
They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You shouldn’t expect to see immediate impact on your life the second you decide to make positive choices, but if you take a new step each day, you will be amazed at where you find yourself down the road.
Orig. Post by stopbullying.gov | Re-Post March 24, 2015
An Overview of School Districts’ Federal Obligation to Respond to Harassment
This video has been developed as part of collaboration among the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. The video is designed to help schools, parents, and others who interact with kids understand the differences between harassment and bullying, and their legal obligations with respect to both.
Schools have a responsibility to create safe learning environments for all students. When harassment is based on a protected class and creates a hostile environment, schools have an obligation under federal civil rights laws to take action. Please use the resources identified in this video to support your own efforts to address harassment and help us all build safe, supportive learning environments for our young.
Luke 2:10-12 reads, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Did you catch the part in there where it says the good news of great joy is for all the people? Jesus was not a gift sent to a select few. He was sent so we all may know God’s love.
We are so fortunate here at Sports World to be able to share the gift that is Jesus Christ with the youth. He has changed all of our lives and given us new beginnings. It is no surprise that we celebrate a fresh start in the new year just one week after celebrating the birth of Jesus. He has given us the chance to start over and to have new life.
What will you do with this fresh start?
Thanksgiving is a time of year where we gather with our families to eat food, laugh and be thankful for all that we have. Psalm 100:4 says “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Oh how easy it is to forget to stop and be thankful for what we have. It’s not always easy to see the blessings right in front of us. Take some time to enjoy time with family. Take time to count those blessings in your life that you may have overlooked. “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever.” -Psalm 136:1
I grew up in government subsidized housing in Jacksonville, AR. I was chosen as an elementary school student to be a part of a program for disadvantaged kids put on at a local elementary school by some former professional athletes from the area. I was 1 of probably 75 kids running around in an old gymnasium with a rippling wood floor, and dilapidated goals and bleachers, wondering what was going to be passed out for snacks, and if there would be a “recess time” where we could go play on the rusty playground equipment I saw in the fenced back lot. Instead we were gathered into smaller groups where we talked about our dreams for the future and what we thought it would take to achieve those dreams. Future astronauts, NFL players and doctors all shared their own visions of the future. Mine was to be a fireman or a policeman where I could help little kids like me, who lived in scary places, to feel safe.
One of the athletes, whose name I don’t remember, began to talk about his dreams of playing in the NFL that eventually came true. He talked about a God, who he now realized had been watching over him from his earliest memories, and who he credited with giving him his ability to play and a path to attain his dreams. I was familiar with this God, as my maternal grandmother frequently spoke about Him to me, reminding me often, that there was someone watching my every move, even if she wasn’t there! He spoke about Eternity, and how the choices we make in this life will determine where we get to spend eternity. Will it be with our loving Father, with no more tears and no more pain? Or will it be an eternity with the evil one, the great destroyer, the devil himself forever in torment? Now this was big stuff to a little kid, but it was even bigger when he presented eternity to us in a way we could understand.
He gave us each rolls of toilet paper, and told us to go and hang the rolls of toilet paper end to end, covering the walls with the paper, as high as it would go wrapped around the court. It took some time, but with the assistance of some helpers with masking tape, we eventually got our toilet paper hung around the wall, reaching from the floor to about 3 feet high up the walls, across the bleachers and across the door ways, a continuous wall of toilet paper gently rolling with a breeze coming through the doors.
He walked slowly around the group of kids sitting in the center of the gymnasium floor, and began sharing how the toilet paper was a symbol of time…it represented eternity, and the time we would get to spend in heaven with God. He described wonderful mansions and gold streets, and jewel covered walls. Marvelous meals, and endless sunny days playing catch with friends. That single line of paper seemed to go on forever on those walls! He then took out a marker, and walked over to an area under one of the goals, and approached the wall. He swept his arm in a big arc, and said, “these white walls represent all of eternity, and this”…here he took the marker and put a single pin point mark on the huge white canvas. From where I was at, I couldn’t even see the mark, but I knew it was there… “This represents all the years you will live on earth. Your whole life, and in fact all of creation’s total existence, fits in that small pen mark. The brief moment we are here,” pointing at the mark, “decides where we will spend all of this time,” sweeping his arm around the gym. “So that’s why you need to choose carefully. Choose your friends carefully, and choose what you do with your time carefully, as those decisions will affect an even greater decision to come. ”
I think I was 8 or 9 years old, so I have had 35 years to think about what was shared with me that day. I’m sure I’ve left details out, and I know the speaker was much more eloquent than I have represented. But, the message is still as relevant to me now, as it was then. I have a greater understanding of the details in what was shared, but it is with a childlike innocence my Father calls me to Him, and that I continue to long for those days walking the golden streets, and breaking bread with my brothers and sisters.
It is that time of year again, football is being played at every level, from Pee Wee to Professional and all the emotions are on displayed from delights to disappointments. One thing all these teams have in common is that they have a vision of what they want to accomplish this year. The delights come when they are moving in the direction of their vision and the disappointments come when they move away from it. In my playing days I have been on both sides of this emotional spectrum of going towards the vision and then going away from it.
God blessed Sports World ministries with a visionary founder like Doc Eshleman who gave God’s vision to Sports World Ministries. We have also been on both sides of this emotional spectrum in respect to our vision. Today our effort is to continuously move in the direction of the vision, which is having a presence on every available school campus, encouraging and challenging students through the message of Hope. We are a seed planting ministry who always seeks to pass the baton to local groups for discipleship and Christian mentorship.
This year our theme is taken from Proverbs 29:18, which says, “where there is no vision people perish.” This year our goal is to plant the seeds of Christ to over 300,000 students and then reach out in the community to pass the baton as much as possible to local groups. God has given us an awesome program, similar to the VIP program, called Adopt-A-School. Through these programs, we are able to have better access to the schools, more funding and people to connect us to these groups. God has made it easy. When we don’t do His vision, we will not receive the provision the way He intended but when we do, we will see great provision.
Praying God’s Best for You,