TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) - Not everyone remembers their roots, but that's never been an issue for Tallahassee's Ernie Sims, who won four State Championships in football at North Florida Christian. He went on to star at Florida State and in the NFL, and on Friday, he was back in town for his 12th Annual Charity Weekend, a weekend that's starting to come full circle for him.
"My sister was over there at the cheerleading part, and I was over here with the kids," reflected Amari Gainer on Friday. "It was just different."
The Chiles grad turned Florida State linebacker knows all about Ernie Sim's Charity Weekend. He was a camper himself not once, but twice.
"I know when I was younger, we had NFL players come back," he said. "We had Ernie, and I played on Ernie's 7on7 team, so I've known him for a while."
"We've been impacting him for a long time through our foundation," added Sims. "It's a testament to show we're committed to impacting these kids in this community."
It's community that Sims has never forgotten along the way.
"This is my roots. This is where I'm from," he said. "I grew up on Northridge road. I went to Pineville Elementary. I just feel so invested. I feel it in my heart."
"Everyone knows the Sims family in Tallahassee," said Charlie Ward, who grew up in Thomasville and played at Florida State. "He's done great things, they've all done great things in their college days and now paying it forward to be able to help kids be able to realize their goals and dreams."
Goals and dreams for kids in Tallahassee.
"You can grow up in Tallahassee and you can still make it to college," said Gainer. "Wherever you grew up, whether it's on the north side, in Woodville, Bradfordville, you always have a chance as long as you work."
"It means a lot for these young people," added Sims. "For them to look up to people and other people in the community and think they have hope for a better future."
A better future that started with camp.