ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester native and former NFL Tight End Roland Williams is continuing his efforts to mentor the youth of the City of Rochester with his mentorship program, Champion Academy Extreme Mentoring & Empowerment Initiative during a virtual fundraiser with Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter taking place on Wednesday.
Sheriff Baxter Champions the Champion Academy: A lunchtime Fundraiser, will feature local radio hosts, TV personalities and community leaders in a lunch hour zoom chat to raise funds. Williams is also expected to make an appearance in the zoom chat.
“Pain pushes until vision pulls, and so we try to give our students vision so they can see themselves outside the current reality and then the technical know-how of how to do it,” Williams said.
“How to facility and how to operate, how to change your thoughts, your words or your actions to lead towards that vision. I think that our success stories of one of our earliest graduates is now accepted to RIT. We have some great success stories. I think that’s what makes it worthwhile and impactful.”
The program helps middle and high school students in poverty and connects them with mentors. The goal is to establish long-term relationships with at-risk teens and put them on a path to success.
“I think it’s being connected with your authentic self. I came from very humble beginnings. I lived on Genesee Street and because of great people supporting me — mentors, my parents, my family — it’s been a whole community getting behind me and my entire childhood and so now I’m an old guy with three sons,” Williams said. “I live here in Los Angeles with my heart will forever be from Rochester and I think it’s important that we all do our small part to get back and make Rochester better.”
The goal of Wednesday’s fundraiser is to raise at least $15,000. The funds raised will be matched by The Polisseni Foundation. Donors will be entered for a chance to win swag and the top 10 donors could have a chance to win a lunch with Roland Williams.