Although July might serve as the slowest and most boring month of the NFL year, it also serves as the month where NFL stars become the most active with their passions outside of the grid iron. For those players and coaches who aspire to make a positive impact on the world, July can be the busiest, craziest month of the year.
Sports Illustrated published a fascinating piece on the Lynn Family Foundation and their work in Tanzania this year. Headed by the Chargers’ coach and his wife Stacey Bell (an NBC New York news anchor), the Lynn Family Foundation seeks to improve life for hundreds of children in Tanzania by building new schools.
In Lynn’s own words,
“We are not here to change their culture or anything like that,” Lynn says. “These are strong people, with a lot of qualities I wish I saw more of. They don’t take anything for granted, and they have to really work hard to get what they want out of life. If you add education to that, they have a chance to do something really special.”
The area in question is a rural village in Africa, where children are often pushed into the workforce at an early age. With little or no educational experience, the children have an even harder time rising out of poverty. Lynn aims to help curb that cycle by building schools and hiring teachers that can help equip students to aim higher and dream larger.
Construction began last year on 50 acres that the Foundation had secured with the local Maasai tribe. Construction of this first phase finished very recently, and Lynn was excited to come visit and see the fruits of his labors.
“You know, you go somewhere, and you expect to help people and have an impact, and they end up having an impact on you. Their resiliency, their toughness, their attitude, their smiles. You see it and experience it, and it makes you appreciate what you really have.”
Plans are already underway to begin construction on a middle school and then a high school in the coming years. Watching the reactions and the positive impact of this first school will surely energize Lynn for the future.
After achieving his bachelor’s degree at age 49, Lynn spoke to his players about not being defined only by football. He urged them to use the free time built into the NFL offseason to pursue endeavors outside of the game, and he hopes that his actions serve as an example to the young men on the Chargers’ team.
In Anthony Lynn’s mind, having an impact off the field can help mold people into better players. It is clear, however, that any on-field benefits pale in comparison to the players’ potential impact on their fellow man.
-Jason “July’s kinda’ nice, after all!” Michaels