Posted By: Christian Marin
Since being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens 26th overall in the 1996 NFL Draft, Ray Lewis has without a doubt been one of the meanest players on the field in the game of football and in the entire history of the NFL. He has led the Baltimore Ravens in tackles for twelve of the fourteen seasons he has played and has been a key element to the Ravens’ powerful rush defense and a leader on their defense in general. He has had the opportunity to hoist the Super Bowl over his head while being named the Super Bowl MVP, he has won many defensive awards and has been selected many times to represent the Baltimore Ravens in the Pro Bowl; twelve to be exact. He has broken records and broken up plays but Ray Lewis focuses on putting together the pieces for children to show them the childhood they didn’t think was possible to have.
For as long as he has been a pro athlete, Ray Lewis has done whatever he can to help give back to the community that first adopted him and helped turn him into the household name that he has become today. For about twelve years now, Lewis has been very generous with the city of Baltimore. Every Thanksgiving he hands out nearly 800 turkeys to families that are in need and can’t afford to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Aside from handing out meals to those who are in need, Lewis also makes an appearance to hand out both hugs and handshakes as it’s not about the hand-outs for Lewis, but being hands-on with the people.
“I was once in that line before,” Lewis told the Baltimore Sun. “Me and my mom, we grew up hard. She made sure that when we got older, we knew that giving back was one of the most important things.”
To this date, Ray Lewis has done remarkable work with the Ray Lewis Foundation; a non-profit tax-exempt corporation whose mission is to provide personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth. Doing everything he did before without it being exposed as much to the media, Lewis now wants to take his charitable work to the next level. He wants to be seen in the public eye for what he does off the field and not just on the field because without the awareness being spread amongst others, no one will ever know about the problems that surround them in their own communities.
Earlier this year, Ray Lewis promoted both his RL52 sports apparel as well as the Ray Lewis Foundation at Mother’s Federal Hill Grille where he was joined by 200 Ravens fans that came to show their support for both Ray Lewis and the cause he was promoting. Being able to meet and greet with the Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker, as well as the opportunity to purchase items from his new clothing line, fans came from all over the city to take advantage of the opportunity to meet their hero and be a hero for someone else. He also teamed up with Wal-Mart this past winter and helped provide coats, gloves, hats and blankets to 300 children and seniors in the Baltimore area who were living in poverty or undeserved communities.
Just recently, a mother of 4 committed suicide in New York as she drove her car into the Hudson River with all of her children inside the car. The only survivor, 10-year old La’Shaun Armstrong, was able to escape through a window. Shortly after the incident, Ray Lewis reached out to the young boy with some help from his other charity called the United Athletes Foundation; a non-profit organization created by a group of professional athletes who understood their unique role in improving the lives of both the athlete fraternity and society in its entirety, where he sits on the Board of Directors as the Vice-Chairman. Lewis understands that La’Shaun should not have to deal with all of this at such a young age and deserves a father figure to mentor him through life. Proceeds from an event that was held this past Saturday will go to the young boy, including scholarship money. The event was not just a one-time thing as both Ray Lewis and the United Athletes Foundation would like to help out young La’Shaun for the long run.
“I don’t want to come into his life for a phase,” Lewis told the Canadian Press in a statement. “I want to be in his life forever.”
To learn out more about the Ray Lewis Foundation, visit http://raylewisfoundation.org/
To learn more about the United Athletes Foundation, visit http://www.unitedathletesfoundation.org/