MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - We're sending a High 5 to a group of Memphis-born NFL stars making an impact in their community! The Make the Right Call football camp not only teaches football skills, it also aims to motivate inner city youth in Memphis to achieve success.
Growing up in the inner city, Memphis native Gene Robinson used football to earn a full ride to college. A standout defensive back at Whitehaven High School, Robinson went on to the University of North Carolina and started for the Tar Heels.
After college, he used that North Carolina degree to launch Genetics Sports Consulting and Events and his Make the Right Call football camp to show inner city kids they too can achieve their goals like he did.
"We're talking to them about setting goals," Robinson said. "Always set five goals. Read them every morning when you brush your teeth. That way when you're going to school, beginning your day, you know how to act according to those goals."
Now in its fifth year, Gene's camp is completely free, which is a big deal. Every year he brings hometown friends to help with the camp and these guys aren't your average Joes.
These are NFL football players from the inner city – guys like Darren Bates of the Tennessee Titans and Dontari Poe of the Atlanta Falcons to show kids how hard work and never settling can bring them success.
"To be around guys that came from where they came from and be able to make it," Bates said. "Lets them know that they can make it out. They can do whatever they dream of."
"Anytime I can get out here and show them something better," Poe said. "Show them something positive, it's a long-lasting effect on a child this age, so it's really good for me to do."
This is 17-year-old Chris Witherspoon's third straight year coming to Gene's camp. He said he comes back every year because he's seen results from the camp and not just on the football field.
"It has taught me to keep pushing," Witherspoon said. "Don't let anybody stop you. The sky's the limit. Well, there is no limit. Don't let anybody put limitations on you. Just keep pushing."
As the camp grows, Gene has found new ways to inspire the inner city youth that take part. This year's it's free ACT classes to the top high school performers at the camp.