PHILADELPHIA, Pa (CBS) — In the short time Malcolm Jenkins has been an Eagle, the Pro Bowl safety has certainly made his stamp on the city. Jenkins’ Malcolm Jenkins Foundation launched Summer S.T.E.A.M., a new innovative pilot program in collaboration with the ExCITe Center at Drexel University, this week, which is a day camp involving 25 children from West Philadelphia.
The participating middle school students are residents in the Philadelphia Promise Zone. The Promise Zone is a nearly two-square mile area in West Philadelphia, identified by the Obama Administration in 2014 as an urban area that lacks resources and faces challenges associated with persistent poverty. The Promise Zone initiative is a new effort to support the neighborhoods of Mantua and West Powelton, as well as Powelton Village and Belmont, which currently have a poverty rate of about 51 percent.
Summer S.T.E.A.M. was a natural fit for the ExCITe Center. Building off the success of the ExCITe Center’s Summer Music Technology program for high school students, Drexel University was pleased when The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation approached them with the idea to offer a new program for middle school age youth. According to Dr. Youngmoo Kim, Director of the ExCITe Center, “The goal of S.T.E.A.M. is to enhance learning by integrating experiences across a wide range of disciplines, from science and math to arts and athletics. We’re thrilled to partner with the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, highlighting the unique trans-disciplinary nature of sports and athletics and extending our efforts to engage younger students.”
The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation plans to partner with Drexel University to offer Summer S.T.E.A.M. next summer following this year’s pilot program, with the goal to extend Summer S.T.E.A.M. to two weeks, thus providing up to 50 area middle school students with the opportunity.
“We wanted to bring some programs to Philadelphia, because in the past, we had a few events in Philly, but not a program that really was hands on with children,” Jenkins said. “We had been talking to Drexel University for about a year for this, and were able to start the pilot S.T.E.A.M. program this summer. Hopefully, we can improve on that, with an even bigger class next year.
“Philly has accepted me. The city has really taken me in, and I’ve embraced the city and I felt that I have to give back to the city. I’ve bought a home in Philly, I like the city, I love playing for the Eagles and it’s great playing for a city that I enjoy being in. I plan on being here for a while. The areas we’re trying to help are from impoverished areas. The youngest kid is eight, and the oldest is in eighth grade. We’re looking to build self-esteem levels of these kids. We’ve done some field trips with the kids, and later this week, we’ll do something involving athletics.”
Jenkins is very much a part of the program—heavily involved in the day-to-day affairs. Sometimes star athlete place their names on charitable events, show up, stay a few minutes to take pictures and shake hands, and then roll. Not Jenkins. He’s entrenched with the charitable projects he does.
“If something has my name on it, I want to actually be involved in it,” Jenkins said. “The best way to invest in other people is through your time and that’s what I try to do. I make sure that I not only give back from a financial standpoint, but it’s important to me to be present and actually physically impact lives. That’s what has the most impact—when you invest in them.”