TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — One of my favorite moments as a kid was meeting Olympic softball player Dot Richardson. I played softball and she was someone I looked up to. For a lot of kids in the Big Bend, Florida State football players hold that place, and the Seminoles are happy to use their platform for good.
Being a Florida State football player puts one in a unique situation.
The Florida State football team has three core values under head coach Mike Norvell: Service, sacrifice, and respect.
Athletes, coaches, and staff from the Seminole football program participated in different service projects around the school.
Wednesday was different though.
The Seminoles spent the day at Riley Elementary in Tallahassee, where they have previously read to kids and done service projects.
"Throughout all the ideas, and the passion, and the beliefs in helping impact others, we didn't want it to stop at just words," Norvell said.
A check for over $11,000 was presented to the school as well, money that will be used towards updating the school library and building a book tree house giving a chance for students to get books they won't have to return.
"I pray to not only be blessed but be a blessing to others," said Stephen Dix, Jr., a Florida State freshman linebacker.
A blessing to be on a platform to influence, and for the Seminoles, Wednesday was the beginning of doing just that.
"It means a lot to me and it means a lot to the coaches," said Tamorrion Terry, a Florida State R-Junior Wide Receiver. "I feel like when everyone gets back here and once we start doing this a lot, it's going to be worth it."
"It just means a lot to me to be able to come out here and help someone else in need that's probably less fortunate," Dix said.
A chance to pitch in, and a chance to give. Beautifying the campus, and raising funds to give to Riley Elementary for new books.
"It serves as an inspiration and motivation to be successful and to keep pushing forward," said April Knight, the principal at Riley Elementary.
Motivating others just by being themselves.
"This was a voluntary event and we were able to present an opportunity that we issued to the team and as you can see it was an incredible turnout," said Norvell. "Our guys are passionate about this community and they're passionate about the youth of Tallahassee. To be able to be apart of this with them is something that makes me really proud."
"Anytime you want to make a difference and make a change you have that platform to use to your advantage, don't waste it," said Dix. "Be a difference-maker."
Making a difference, one day at a time.
Of the around 600 children who attend Riley Elementary less than 25 percent are reading at grade level and all are economically disadvantaged.