Reporter: Sally Delta
Lynchburg, VA - Former UVA football player and current New York Jets lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson stopped by Elizabeth's Early Learning Center Friday. It is all part of the NFL's partnership with United Way called TEAM NFL.
Players from all 32 NFL teams are involved. They're traveling around the country encouraging people in every community to read, tutor or mentor a child.
You wouldn't' know it at first glance, but after a few minutes, it was easy to tell that Ferguson has a heart for more than just the game.
"I definitely enjoy it, you know. You see them out there and they're excited and they make me excited because I can see that they're happy to be here, so I try to give them what they give me," said Ferguson.
"Our kids look up to him and our adults look up to him. I mean these are NFL players who we watch on Sundays," said Keena Wood, United Way marketing director.
But Ferguson wasn't always so active in the field. He had open heart surgery as a child, which forced him to spend extra time in the classroom.
"I wasn't able to go out and play, so I spent a lot of time indoors while the other kids were out during recess," said Ferguson.
He spent a lot of time indoors with teachers, and says he never forgot how much he appreciated their time and attention.
"I've had a lot of great mentors in my life and I wanted to be that for somebody else," said D'Brickashaw.
So now, Ferguson is doing his part with United Way to get kids excited about education. His goal is to recruit 3,000 volunteers to get on board and create more positive role models for our youth.
"This is so exciting! It's not every day you get an NFL player strolling into town and one who is supporting your kids and community and spread the word. We are just so excited," said Wood.
Ferguson also stopped by a couple other places in Lynchburg to read a children's book he wrote to the kids.
Click here for details on TEAM NFL.