PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A local NFL star hosted his first annual football camp in East Mount Airy. North Philadelphia native and Denver Broncos safety Will Parks has made using his platform to give back to his community a top priority since making his NFL debut.
As he prepares for the upcoming NFL season, Parks took time out of his offseason training to host the first annual Will Parks Football Camp at the Benjamin L. Johnson Stadium from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“I’m just trying to have the kids smile, it’s a good day,” Parks said. “I always told myself if I had the opportunity I would give back and help the city out. I’d do it any way possible and this is one of the many ways I’m going to do it.”
Children between 6 and 17 years old showed up to spend the day learning football and life techniques from a familiar face.
“I’m looking forward to learning multiple positions because I play multiple positions and learn more about the game,” Kristian Athill said.
Ten-year-old Athill and 11-year-old Christopher Sponburgh say it’s “really cool” to be attending the football camp because they “represent” the Wissahickon Braves, which is the same Keystone State Football organization that Parks played for growing up.
Sponburgh’s mother, Courtney, has known Parks for almost 19 years and says watching his journey toward success is inspirational.
“My son’s have been talking about this event since it was first announced back in April,” Courtney Sponburgh said. “When players like Will show up and give back, it gives motivation for all of the little guys out here to stay in school and do the right thing. It’s so amazing to see all of his hard work pay off.”
This isn’t Parks first time giving back to his city. In December 2018, Parks joined Philadelphia CeaseFire in an effort to stop gun violence.
“I lost numerous people to gun violence – everybody in this whole stadium probably has,” Parks said. “So for us to partner with them and try to increase change and help kids understand that it’s more than just guns and things of that sort, it’s huge.”
Since partnering with CeaseFire, Parks has been speaking at schools in the Philadelphia area motivating students to work hard and follow their dreams.