NFL players from Monroe return with friends to mentor youth
Over 200 youth showed up Saturday morning for the Justin “Jellybean” Ellis Football Camp at Neville High School.
Ellis brought along 13 of his NFL friends to work with young people and to encourage them not to take the road of violence. As parents watched in the stands the NFL players drilled young athletic hopefuls in passing, catching, hitting bags, and warm-ups.
They were assisted by several local coaches who joined in to help provide the football camp experience.
Walter Jones, Director of Marketing and Player Relations for Pro Source Sports Agency, says Ellis is alarmed by the constant increase in murder among youth in his hometown. The agency encourages their clients to be a voice in their hometowns.
Justin is a former Neville player who also played for Louisiana Tech. He was drafted in 2015 in the 3rd Round to the Oakland Raiders. He is a Defensive Lineman for the Raiders.
During the camp, the youth did drills and dashes. The professional athletes and local coaches also discussed Physical Fitness and Health Values with the youngsters as well as how to dress for success, and the importance of preparing for college.
“It saddens me to hear about kids in my hometown being murdered. To be in California and get a phone call from people back home saying another kid has been killed is heartbreaking. It makes me want to do more with my platform to reach these young brothers,” said Ellis.
This year Ellis launched his own Non-Profit Foundation called “Current Phenomenon”. The organization recently held a shoe drive in Monroe where hundreds of kids received new tennis shoes as a community service to low-income families. The foundation has also sponsored a Malcolm X Day in the Park to highlight the accomplishments and legacy of Malcolm X.
Ellis, who grew up in the Booker T. area of Monroe, says he can’t get to Monroe fast enough. “People assume because we don’t live in Monroe anymore that we aren’t concerned about what’s happening there. I grew up in an area of poverty and I know firsthand the effects it has on young boys. This is just my effort to assist with leaders in the city who are diligently trying to combat the violence that is taking place in my hometown. We all have to do our part,” said Ellis.
Dak Prescott, Quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, Khalil Mack of the Oakland Raiders, and Vernon Butler of the Carolina Panthers were among the 14 players who helped out including Barkevious Mingo, a former West Monroe High School player, who is now a Super Bowl Champion was on hand. Also assisting was Dillon Day of the Denver Broncos (former West Monroe High School players) also helped.