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Keepin' kids off the streets through football and mentoring

Posted at 6:41 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 18:41:56-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) — A developmental program called Diamonds in the Rough is designed to level out the social economic playing field. That is according to Leroy Smith, a Florida State alum. He explained that his organization levels that field through sports and tutoring. Smith said, "Our goal is to teach them how to be self-sufficient and compliant. Compliant to teachers, compliant to authority, so they can be successful."

Leroy Smith played football at Florida State. He went on to the NFL and after retirement, he decided to stay in the Big Bend area, helping kids by giving them mentors. "We keep track of their grades. We keep them out of trouble and it involves everything positive. We try to place as much positive around them."

Smith has been helping kids in the Tallahasse area for years. He has run his non-profit for ten years, and have put on football practices and tutoring for five years. Over 20 kids have been sent to college through his program. That isn't possible without sponsors and donations from the community.

"We're seeking donations to keep the mentors and tudors coming, so we can provide these resources for these kids, to help them understand it doesn't matter where you're from," explained Smith. "You can be from a poor neighborhood or you can be from a wealthy neighborhood, but we need to give them these resources that they need to be successful when they become adults."

However, Smith doesn't want to give kids immediate success. "You don't want to give them gratification, like quick success, because the world doesn't work like that. We are trying to teach them that you have to go through a process, you have certain things-- checkpoints-- that you have to go through in order to get to where you want to be."

The former FSU player was a teacher for 12 years. He added that while he knows what children need to be successful, he also knows what teachers need.