VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - It’s more than the X’s and O’s for the Lowndes Vikings.
Two of their top receivers have recently launched a mentorship with the mission to help teach kids important life skills.
Vikings Receivers Dominque Marshall and Chase Belcher said they started the ‘Boys to Vikings’ program with the goal to help kids become successful students and athletes.
Marshall said, “That’s why we call it ‘Boys to Vikings’ to turn them into men. You know, most of those guys are 6th, 7th, 8th grade, and some younger than that when we get farther into it. You know when they get up here to 9th grade and have four years of high school, we just want them to be like us and accomplish the goals that we accomplish.”
“This is the reason why I want to coach," said Outside Receivers' Coach, Kevin Pych.
He told me Marshall and Belcher can reach these kids in ways they don’t.
“Last week they learned how to say 'Yes ma’am and no ma’am. Yes, sir, and no sir. Or never talk back to a female teacher or a female peer. And that was really good talk when the kids could hear from a guy, they see on Friday night is powerful," said Pych.
Each week has a different message.
Marshall said it’s rewarding to see more kids coming each week.
“It shows us that the kids are excited to come back that next Saturday because everything we do the Saturday before telling them to put good things in their heads, telling them what to do and not to do in the upcoming week in school and tell them to stay out of trouble and work hard on the field. It makes them want to come back and say, ‘Hey, I gotta go here tomorrow.’ So, it just... they enjoy it," said Marshall.
Belcher said they’re just getting started and is excited for this to become a staple for the Vikings.
“I hope it motivates them to want to keep it going when we leave, motivates them to want to help other kids, kids below them," said Belcher.
Boys to Vikings takes place every Saturday morning at 11 on Joe Wilson Field at Martin Stadium.