Former Jets Defensive End Vernon Gholston Visits Jersey City Youth
April 2018 - On Sunday, April 22, the Educational Gilmore Community Learning Center was abuzz with activity as youth from the center and the surrounding neighborhood in Jersey City anxiously awaited the arrival a special guest. Former New York Jets player and Ohio State alum Vernon Gholston stopped by the center to offer words of wisdom and answered questions from the youth in attendance.
Gholston, a Detroit native, spoke about his shared experience as a kid from the inner city. Gholston noted that, prior to high school, he had no clue about being a professional athlete and said going to the NFL wasn’t even on his radar. He talked about the role of education in his life and reminded the youth that anything is possible: “You put in the work, you put in the dedication, you put in the time and then, eventually, you reach your dreams. Hard work and dedication is what it takes for whatever you want to do. Football was my avenue … as long as you have the hard work and dedication, you’ll make it—you’ll go far in life.”
The youth were treated to an afternoon meal and received gifts from the Jets. Gholston also provided autographed player cards for each child. The event was organized by Champions for Philanthropy (CFP), an organization that assists professional athletes with carrying out charitable initiatives. CFP co-founders Michelle Mays and Alycia Powell worked with Frank Gilmore and Aisha Maundy to bring Gholston to the center, which offers academic coaching and mentoring to at-risk Jersey City adolescents.