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Florida State's Amari Gainer proving that being 'Game Changer' can happen off football field

Posted at 11:37 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 23:37:14-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)  — Florida State football are no strangers to making their presence known in the Tallahassee community. In a long line of current and former Noles to make an impact is redshirt-sophomore and Capital City native Amari Gainer. And for him, it’s all about closing the gap and changing the game.

“We’re going to be out and serving kids. Mentoring and giving the experience we have also had. And changing the game," Gainer told ABC 27.

For Amari being a "game-changer" doesn’t always stem from a late-game sack or timely takeaway on the football field. It can happen when an idea born from his upbringing here in Tallahassee comes into fruition.

“You know my mom’s a teacher. So having this wonderful school and being able to be out here and having my family, teammates with me and having this whole community with me it’s amazing," he said. "It just feels good to be back.”

Gainer began his work creating the Game Changers Foundation. A fun and free way to help spread literacy to kids all across the Capital City. Implementing key principles that will make better students inside the classroom.

“And I was like Amari, reading and teaching kids that it starts in the classroom first," says Amari's mother and teacher Blond Gainer. "And then once you’re able to master what’s in the classroom as far as your academics. The sky's the limit.”

On a hot July day, the classroom for the first day of Amari’s foundation is a patch of grass. It’s here a game of kickball unites college athletes and the youth they inspire. And in a time where NIL deals and dollar figures run wild for student-athletes. He knows that no dollar amount can make a lasting impact on the mind of a child.

“The best impact is making an impact through the heart. That’s what I believe," says Amari. "With all this NIL stuff, I mean it is important to get proceeds from your name, image and likeness. But it’s also important to give back and pour into the community that poured into me.”

“Amari would do plenty of camps free. Out of pocket. It’s the building of the foundation. That’s just Amari’s character," Blond adds. "He’s just one big, fun-loving kid.”