Marques Sullivan from the North Lawndale area continues to serve as he launches a flag football camp for the youth of Chicago. Raised up with a humble beginning, Sullivan had the opportunity to play for the Buffalo Bills, The New York Giants, The Chicago Rush, and The New England Patriots and Sullivan continues to give back to his community. Sullivan says " As a black man I always felt that it was important for me to lead as an example and allow young black children to see me serve." Sullivan was just recently hired by the Near West Development Corp. to do just that, to serve and lead as an example for the youth.
Sullivan's flag footbal camp is on the field of the Touhy-Herbert park and he invites all children between the ages of 7 and 18 to come and join him and the rest of the coaches who consists of former world champion James "Tiger" Flower, NFL player Michael Blair, and serveral other advocates of positive change. Although the camp will only last for three days, Sullivan feels that it will have a life lasting impression of disipline on the youth who play. About 30 young girls and boys are participating in the sport. Still there is time for more youth to participate, however if they have missed out on this opportunity they are still able to participate in many of the other programs that the Near Westside Development Corp. has for the youth.
The Chargers, Bears, Steelers, and the Tigers are the names that the youth made up as they are broken down in teams, and they are being trained by both men and women coaches to allow them to understand the diversities of life but as well to teach them the discipline of flag football, all while they are having fun. Michael Blair, former NFL player for the Greenbay Packers says "We are just doing what we love to do with the kids---it's all about giving back to the community." Michael Blair was recruited to the Kansas city Chief's NFL team but experienced a disappointment when he was dropped from football camp. Although, he was released he continued to work harder and moved on to the next level in his life. He says "Just to get there is not enough, but you have to work hard to stay there and that's what I want to teach the youth--this is why I am currently known for my accomplishments with the Greenbay Packers."
Meschel Edwards one of the women coaches says " I appreciate that this is co-ed football because it show that women are equal and we can play sports just like men can--the young ladies are doing awesome, even better then some of the guys." Porcha Johnson-Ferguson is the conditioning coach and says "Playing any sport is important for the kids to be apart of because it keep them out of trouble." Porcha's daughter Niajia is one of the female players and Niajai Manson who is 12 years old feels that playing football is a great sport and it keeps her in shape and it gives her something to do that is positive and different. As Keshaun Perkins who is a 12 year old male player feels that playing helps him to work hard and to never give up. Being able to get the youth to committ is one thing but giving them something that they love to do permits them the ability to learn and have fun at the same time.
Melvin Hall flag football and boxing coach feels that it is very important for programs like this to be a part of every community ongoing because it keeps the youth out of trouble, constantly learning and having fun. This is one of the main reasons why Marques Sullivan plans to continue to push forward in order to make this flag foorball camp one that is ongoing and available to the youth throughout the year.
To Contact Marques Sullivan For Youth Programming Call:
Near West Side Community Development Corp.
216 S. Hoyne Ave. Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 738-2280