By: Tony McCray

Fred Robbins, the former NFL Football Defensive Tackle, was not playing defense on this past Saturday at the Marie Young Community Center in Wedgewood. Instead, Fred Robbins went on the offense with the children and families in Wedgewood and the surrounding area bringing Christmas cheer to an area hard hit with environmental issues. However, those issues were overshadowed by the big 6 foot 4 inches height and over 300-pound frame of mentorship for youth empowerment bottled up in one committed huge individual with a huge heart.

Mr. Robbins’ Neighborhood (MRN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring youth athletes on and off the playing field through education, training, career exploration, and mentorship. MRN will never discourage a goal or a passion for playing professional sports, but will also empower these youth to recognize and achieve their full potential off the field.

The Marie Young Community Center was packed with smiles, laughter, excitement, and toys.  There were activities going on everywhere and the children were engaged in having a great time. Larry Williams, a member of the Wedgewood Homeowners stated that “The success of the Mr. Robbins Neighborhood Christmas event in Wedgewood was gigantic. It was gigantic because Fred was so giving of his time and resources to make a difference in the lives of so many young people in our community.”     

Mr. Robbins Neighborhood works to inform student athletes of the real world challenges of attempting a career in professional sports. MRN works to build up the confidence, skills, and knowledge of the student-athlete to be capable of pursuing other opportunities.  The efforts of MRN decreases the number of young athletes who are not prepared at the end of academic study or professional experience to transition into a new profession and obtain career success.

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