The kids attending summer camp with Project Transformation had a special treat on Tuesday, July 16. Cowboys wide receiver, Dwayne Harris spent half the day with them at the Pleasant Mound United Methodist Church location, beginning with their morning ritual of dancing to wake up. Kristin Kelly of Project Transformation says, “We start each day with music and dancing to wake up “and as the kids were in the middle of a popular line dance, she escorted Harris in.
After dancing, kids gathered around the NFL star seated on a beanbag on the floor. He talked to them about the hardships he had growing up, the importance of staying in school and going to college. His message to them was “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something you want to do.” Being an avid sports lover, his favorite sport was basketball, which he thought he’d play as a pro, but it turns out that football was his destiny. Apparently, many people told him he’d never make it to the NFL. With hard work and determination, he proved them wrong it and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys three years ago. While he’s from Atlanta and would have liked to stay close to his family, he’s enjoying being a part of the cowboys team and is making new “family” here.
Q & A was followed by a reading session. The book chosen was so appropriate for this day- “Dream Big”- Michael Jordan’s story of growing up to become a pro basketball player and accomplishing his childhood dream of making the Olympic team, despite the odds. Chosen children sat with Dwayne and took turns with him reading pages aloud to the entire elementary class.
Harris then addressed the older students in the chapel where he shared his story to the more mature children. Being completely honest with them about watching his family struggle when he was little, he told them that his greatest inspiration was his mother. A single mom with three sons, she is his motivation. Dwayne says that “when I do well, it motivates my family to do well.” The teenagers had some great questions:
Q: Do you like playing with Tony Romo?”
A: “Tony is one of the smartest people I know, is a great athlete at not just football but basketball and golf, too.”
Q: “What do you do in off season?”
A: ” People think there is an off season. We work on staying fit all year. I can’t even eat candy.”
Q: “What team members do you like the most?”
A:” I hang out with Bruce Carter most but talk to Dez Bryant the most.” (this answer brought applause.)
Q: ” How does it feel to be a Cowboy?”
A: ” Amazing. I’m living my dream.”
Football Camp sponsors J & B Outreach and NFLPA ( National Football League Players Association) set up courses for the children in the play field where Dwayne ran routes with them and coached them up. Throughout the day he had taken photos and signed autographs for every child in the program.
This event was part of Project Transformation’s fifteenth anniversary celebration and could be hard to top! Project Transformation has nine campuses located at various Methodist church locations from Oak Cliff to Prosper and points in between. A year-round literacy based program, Project Transformation’s free literacy and educational summer programs step in and provide positive role models and enriching activities for all ages during a time of year when kids often lack educational resources and support.