PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long walked in to a room full of about 50 excited teens but his big score with them has nothing to do with his performance on the field. He made a major announcement that he is donating the rest of this years paychecks to education for kids.
FOX 29's Shawnette Wilson was at the announcement Wednesday night.
"Chris is playing the whole season without collecting a paycheck. Is that awesome or what?" said a woman while introducing Long.
He attended a fall celebration for Summer Search Philadelphia. It’s mentoring organization that works with teens from low income families from 10th grade until they finish college. He came to announce his donation of $100,000 dollars to the Summer Search education program. Two other cities where he's played will also get money from his donated game checks.
"I wanted to do something that would affect kids that weren't going to get a scholarship to a private school and not necessarily that that's better or worse but everybody needs resources so and this means a lot," said Long. He started the program with a motivational speech that left each student with something.
"He said that life is short and you got to be the spark that makes everyone smile," said 11th grader Dillan Tran. Kaylah-Ryan Keitt is a 12th grader. She said, “What stuck out to me is he said he felt like our generation is the one that can change how we feel about what's going on today. We are the generation that's impacting what's going to happen to our future and that’s important to me."
Sylvia Watts-McKinney is the Executive Director of Summer Search Philadelphia. She says she's thankful Long is using his platform and athletic success for good.
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"There is no reason why a child in urban America cannot have the same education as a child that lives in communities where it's more prosperous," she said.
Long also had a networking session with the kids. They talked to him about their experiences taking trips to Nicaragua and Costa Rica hiking and canoeing.
“What we can all agree on for sure that can help our country it is pouring more into our youth, equity in education and opportunity in education," said Long.
The donation is part of a larger campaign. Long is donating to two other cities where he's played but he's challenging other athletes and fans to donate too. The city that raises the most money for education will get an extra $50,000.