On February 13th LCEC youth had a unique opportunity to meet Rookie NFL linebacker, Andrew Farmer II of the Los Angeles Chargers. Prior to starting his career in LA, Andrew served as a Defensive End for HBCU (Historically Black University) Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. During his collegiate football career, Andrew notched 140 tackles and 19.5 sacks, proving that his ambition to go beyond the college field could be more than just a dream.

Our youth have  tons of questions for Andrew, starting off by asking how he was able to make it to the NFL. Andrew replies by sharing that as a youth, he wasn’t as focused as he should’ve been and that by initially not taking school seriously, it almost cost him his dream. However, after self-reflecting he realized that he needed to make changes to achieve his goals. These changes included: better study habits, a greater dedication to his sports and team, and surrounding himself with a support system and peers who could hold him accountable.

Andrew reinforces that without his support system of mentors, family, and community, he would not be where he is today. Andrew’s thoughts on the need for community mirror the African Proverb of “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,“ one of the central ideas that animates the LCEC.

When the students ask about his experience attending an HBCU, Andrew continues with his theme of community and explains how there’s a sense of pride and belonging attached to attending an HBCU and that you instantly find your village. Andrew goes on to say that every college has its pros and cons and that you will have to make big decisions in order to have a positive college experience. Our youth appreciate his openness as they are currently faced with making decisions that will determine their success.

After an hour and fifteen minutes of laughter and connecting, Andrew leaves our youth with one last word of encouragement to reflect on as they continue their own journeys in life: He tells them to remember to be kind and respectful to their youth workers because they are the ones who dedicate their time and love to making sure that they succeed. He also adds that the way you treat others follows you throughout your life and often determines the connections you make as well as what you will be most known for.

Everyone at the LCEC is beyond grateful for Andrew’s humility and willingness to connect with our youth: and are grateful for the wisdom he shared. As we continue to provide mentorship and meaningful experiences for our youth, if you or anyone you know would like the opportunity to share your work or connect with our youth in any capacity, please contact our Director of Programs at Ave@LCECmadison.org.