NFL player giving back to Bayview community

February 21, 2012 5:37:49 PM PST
In one San Francisco neighborhood, the news often focuses on crime, but there are plenty of positive things going on in Bayview-Hunters Point. One young man raised there is now an NFL player giving back to the community.

They should get used to seeing Eric Wright at the YMCA in Bayview-Hunters Point. He and his wife are the founders of a new venture there called The Wright Steps Mentoring Program.

"I think giving back is all a part of the game. It's what you have to do. It's your social responsibility," Wright says. The 26-year-old is a defensive back for the Detroit Lions, but his heart belongs to San Francisco and particularly, to Bayview-Hunters Point. He grew up in the community near 3rd and Oakdale.

"I had both my mother and my father in my life," he says. "They helped out tremendously throughout the course of my life and they guided me in a positive direction, but you still have to deal with the elements that's outside your own house." His "Wright Steps" program will match teenagers at the Y with mentors like college grad Sean Tanner who can help them navigate challenges. "I just let them know education will change your opportunities that you can benefit off of," Tanner says.

Wright will lend his name, his contacts, and his resources to offer college tours, guest speakers, and other potentially life-changing activities. Mentoring coordinator Mike Kirtman says, "We want to support the youth and focus on their strengths and support their abilities to be successful and take the right steps." And, perhaps someday be a role model. And, be a cool guy.

"Yeah, I'm cool. I'm super cool," Wright says smiling.

Wright's program is still recruiting mentors and has scheduled a kick-off celebration April 7.


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