Giving back to the community has always been of the utmost importance to NFL star C.J. Anderson, and helping the children in his hometown of Vallejo, California is his top priority. Last year he launched the Dreams Never Die Foundation in Vallejo with the objective of providing the youth of the city with the resources needed to reach their maximum potential — whether in academics, athletics, or both.
"Being from the inner city, you do not have a lot of resources and opportunities to pursue schools like Harvard or UC–Berkeley, where I graduated from," says Anderson, who hopes he can be an example for the children of his community of someone who succeeded in both sports and school.
One of Anderson's goals with Dreams Never Die is to build a facility that will offer the physical space for students to gather and focus on academics or sports — ideally both — with room to bring in local organizations to run demonstrations and workshops in areas like robotics and coding. They will help make learning fun for these kids, says Anderson, a quality that is sometimes lacking in their schooling.
Establishing the foundation is truly a dream come true, says Anderson, and he hopes the children will take a lesson away from his example. “If you believe in something, go get it," he says. "I truly believe that your dreams don’t die until you give up on them.”
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Anderson, Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos, reflects on his community activism work and shares tips for other nonprofit leaders.
For more with CJ Anderson, watch Usable Knowledge's Walking the Talk.
About the Harvard EdCast
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.
Photo: Jeffrey Beall - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35340459