PISCATAWAY, NJ – Almost seven years ago Piscataway native Malcolm Jenkins formed his own charity called “The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation”. According to its website, “The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation is committed to youth development in underserved communities through programs and initiatives that emphasize education, character development, leadership, life skills, health and recreation.”
The 29 year-old All-Pro safety for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles held his sixth annual Next Level Youth Football Camp at his alma mater, Piscataway High School this past Friday and Saturday, where 475 area boys and girls ages 7-17 received life lessons as well as a full day's worth of gridiron activity.
“It’s awesome,” Jenkins told TAPinto on Friday, referring to the camp being back in town once again. “This is our sixth year and it’s gotten bigger and bigger. We’ve had more and more support from local sponsors. The township has been great letting us use the facilities. It’s fun every time we come back.”
The free event also served as an information session for parents where they learned about the latest on health, wellness and sports safety.
Presented by Safe Kids New Jersey and other experts, topics consisted of Creating a Safe Sports Culture, Nutrition and Hydration, Concussion Recognition and Recovery, Overuse Injury Prevention, Mental Health Issues of Young Athletes, and Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Athletes.
Jenkins, a Super Bowl XLIV champion with the New Orleans Saints, 2015 Pro Bowler, and 2010 All-Pro teamed up with seven other current or former NFL players to make the trip to Piscataway to help coach up the kids.
This included former Rutgers and current New England Patriots defensive back and two-time Super Bowl champion All-Pro, Devin McCourty; Marques Colston (Saints); Mike Adams (Indianapolis Colts); Brandon Bing (Rutgers/New York Giants); Ron Brooks (Eagles); Steven Miller (Piscataway/Detroit Lions); and Travell Dixon (Carolina Panthers).
Last year, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, a Pro Bowler, All-Pro, and 2016 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year took to the turf at the camp. Fitzgerald is a two-time receptions and touchdowns leader in the NFL and a standout for the University of Pittsburgh.
To Jenkins, it is special having guys like Fitzgerald and the other NFL players come and help out, interact, and share tips with the youth at the camp.
“Kids grow up watching Larry Fitzgerald and want to be like him. It’s different having him teach you what he does and how he does it, and his stories,” said Jenkins, who has 476 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 72 pass deflections, 14 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, and six total touchdowns in his pro career thus far.
On the field, the campers went through state-of-the-art combine testing thanks to Sport Testing and Dynasty Sports Group. DSG is owned by Colston, a former wide receiver and teammate of Jenkins in New Orleans. In addition to the testing, the kids did various position drills, learned football fundamentals, one-on-one’s against each other, and participated in the always-fun 7-on-7 passing games. Afterwards, select standouts earned awards and gear for earning the honor as the fastest man in the combine testing, whoever displayed the most/best sportsmanship throughout the day, and the camp’s overall most valuable player.
Raffles also went on for the parents and the campers received a little goodie bag with a football signed by the NFL players in attendance, including Jenkins.
Jenkins is seen as a great football player, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, and with the foundation, he seeks to help youth develop in all areas of life. So, what exactly inspired Jenkins to create his own foundation?
“I did a lot of community service in college (at Ohio State) and I did a lot when I first got to New Orleans,” he said. “But I really wanted to focus on the youth and make a positive impact, especially in underserved communities. So, we started in New Orleans with our rewards programs and scholarships. And that just grew and now we’re in four different states, New Jersey, Louisiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, serving all those communities that I’ve had a chance to live in or play in. Every year we get support and see the impact it has on kids and their families, and that continues to push our drive to get bigger and bigger.”
“I want to make sure that everything I do makes a lasting impact,” said Jenkins.