NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A man in Norfolk is trying to bring a football summer camp to the Young Terrace neighborhood, but he needs help from the community to make it happen.
The streets surrounding the Young Terrace Community Center were quiet Wednesday morning — a stark contrast to the violence the neighborhood has grown accustomed to.
“We’ve had shootings, we’ve had deaths where a young guy got killed over here,” said Deshawn Fuller.
Fuller grew up in the area and he’s returned, hoping to resurrect the sport that gave him a way out.
“This football field was my safe haven and I want it to be someone else’s safe haven as well,” Fuller said.
That’s why he’s starting “Clovers Football Camp” in July for kids like Jaylen Lamb. The 11-year-old lineman doesn’t know how long he’ll stay on the field, but even at his age, he recognizes what sports could mean for his neighborhood.
Lamb said, “Well hopefully it will bring people in the community so there’s no more gangs, staying off the streets and actually on the field, learning about some stuff.”
“This is a way to give them something else besides the gang life,” said Fuller.
He has the kids and he has the space. But to give the kids the full football camp experience, he needs help. From equipment to volunteers, there’s nothing Fuller says he wont’ be able to use.
“I avoided the crime life and drugs life because my escape was football,” Fuller said. “So I want to afford this opportunity to other kids that actually want to get away from it, that don’t want to be a part of it.”
He’s hoping he can take what he’s experienced and mentor the kids playing on the same field he used years ago.
If you have spare football equipment that you’re able to donate, or if you’re looking for more information on the program, you can contact Fuller on Facebook or at bigShawnfuller30@yahoo.com.