To close out the year, 2014 Super Bowl Champion Russell Wilson and GRAMMY Award-Winning Artist Ciara walked through our doors with wide smiles on their faces, making for one of the most memorable experiences for Friends of the Children youth.
Although the youth started out the day bubbling loudly with excitement, the moment the couple entered the room, many of them became struck with awe. “Hey, can I have a high five?” were some of the first words to come out of Russell’s mouth. Something clicked, and the kids began jumping up for the chance to interact with the Seattle Seahawks quarterback.
For the next 30 minutes, the couple kindly and compellingly addressed the room before opening up a conversation with the youth. There was an intense silence as they offered up powerful words of wisdom and inspiration based on their own personal experiences in their journeys to success.
Russell said people told him “No” all the time. They told him he was too short and would never be a quarterback. For our kids, many of whom have limited resources and regularly face the challenge of being told “No,” the resilience and strength he exhibited were particularly empowering.
Quitting was not an option for Ciara or Russell. Ciara shared that writing down her goals and speaking them into existence was key. As a teenager, she wrote down her three goals: to get discovered, to sell 3 to 4 million records, and to have longevity with her career. Ciara explained that it’s important to define our goals in order to achieve them. It was only two weeks after she created her list that she was given an opportunity to enter the music business.
“I always wanted to be a singer,” Bailey*, a program youth said. “Hearing Ciara talk about working through rejections and keeping her dream alive means so much to me.”
While Bailey* has said it can get difficult to hold onto her dream because she can’t get into the studio to record and doesn’t have the network to easily get discovered, this experience at Friends of the Children has given her an extra boost of hope to continue working hard towards her ultimate goals.
We are grateful to the Why Not You Foundation for making the visit happen, and for their generous gift of $115,883, thanks to a portion of proceeds of sales from Russell’s company Good Man Brand to the Seattle and national office. This will help us to give more youth a Friend for 12+ years. We look forward to our next visit with Russell and Ciara!
*Youth's name changed to protect their identity