Chandler Jones had so much fun working with at-risk boys last summer as part of the Youth Impact Program that Syracuse hosted, he decided to help out once again.
The school announced Wednesday it is hosting the program for the second straight year, and Jones will be there next week when it begins. The program will run from July 5-29, and Syracuse football players will help with classroom work in math, language and writing, along with life skills sessions, a football chalk talk and football practice.
The group of more than 100 at-risk, inner-city boys are from sixth, seventh and eighth grade. They will get to work with players Ollie Haney, Lewellyn Coker, Dyshawn Davis, Jaston George, Deon Goggins, Prince-Tyson Gulley, Sean Hickey, Nick Lepak, Keon Lyn, Phillip Thomas, Shamarko Thomas, Jeremi Wilkes and Jones. Syracuse athletics academic coordinator Joe Fields will direct the program, and public school teachers also will help.
If there is anything Jones wants the boys to take with them, it is an emphasis on getting an education.
"Last year, I wanted to send a message to them they can't do anything without academics," Jones said in a phone interview. "I told them,'You have to stay in school. To do some football drills, you have to get that math skill right. For me to teach you the secret move I do, you have to solve this problem.'"
Jones said he wants to be a mentor because that is something he did not have growing up. "I just look at it from my own perspective," he said. "When I was a kid, I didn't have a high prestigious athlete to talk to me and show me. I had older brothers, but they weren't Division I athletes. Being in the position I'm in, I want to help them be successful."