Temple University football players mentoring students in Camden schools

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Temple University football players are teaming up with Camden's Charter School Network to mentor young students as part of a new partnership.

A van full of players arrived Friday morning to visit students in multiple grade levels within the school network.

"I would die when I was their age to be able to have a college football player in my gym class, so being able to come back here to hang out with these kids and put a smile on their faces means the world to me and to our team," said quarterback Anthony Russo.

The players have been visiting every Friday so far this semester.

"We want our student-athletes to be leaders on and off the field," said Temple head coach Rod Carey. "We have found that when our football players spend time with the students at Camden Charter School Network, both sides benefit. You can see the growth, bonding, and enjoyment from everyone involved."

"It's good to have mentors who played the sport that we all love and we watched growing up to come in and just speak to you," said running back Remahn Davis.

In one classroom, players and students played games that focused on elements of football, which include strategy, teamwork and respect.

Students learned how it all connects to their lives in school as well as how they'll need to use those skills as adults.

Principal Christa Hahn said the interaction is a good tool to show help kids realize they can accomplish anything beyond high school.

"College is a possibility. Work hard every single day. Involve that respect in your life and it can happen for anybody," Hahn said.

Drew Katz, a member of the Temple University Board of Trustees and benefactor to Camden's Charter School Network, promoted this partnership as part of the Rachel & Drew Katz Foundation Community Service Initiative.

"College seems so far away and possibly impossible for many our students," said Bill Helmbrecht, Camden's Promise Charter School co-founder, "Having the Temple players on our campus, interacting so easily and effectively with our students, it makes the opportunity to go to college both relatable and achievable."

The hope is to continue the partnership into the summer.
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