Local NFL star makes play off field
William Hayes, defensive end for the St. Louis Rams, is teaming up with High Point Community Against Violence to tackle the issue of juvenile offenders and block them from going down the wrong road in life with his Right Track program.
The non-profit program started with Hayes wanting to give back to the community in which he was raised.
“High Point is where my heart is and the mentality of some people has not changed,” Hayes said. “I want to put it in the kids’ heads that if you work hard you can make your dreams a reality. You just have to change the mindset that they have.”
The High Point native graduated from Andrews High School in 2003 and attended Winston-Salem State University before being drafted in the fourth round by the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 NFL draft.
After playing for the Titans, he began playing as a defensive end with the St. Louis Rams in 2012.
Hayes admits that some of the kids see him as a big NFL star, but he uses that as an advantage to show them where they can go. He makes it a point to come home and get involved with the community to do just that.
“I will tell anybody that I was self-made. I put in time and work myself to create William Hayes. I went from being one of the smallest guys to being one of the biggest guys on the football team and it was all hard work,” Hayes said. “It feels great to come home and be acknowledged for the work that I have been doing.”
The program provides first-offenders and their families with tools and resources within the community.
“You try to get the offense reduced but the main thing is to try and put them on the right direct,” Hayes said. “We set up a lot of seminars and have a lot of one-on-one with the kids. We try to help set up their futures and change the mentality that they have. They have one way of thinking and we are trying to show them that there are things they can do to be productive and not have to worry about getting in trouble while doing it.”
Those in the program have been referred from the court system or from parents seeking assistance with their child. Each participant is given an individualized plan.
“We help parents who have problems with their children attending school, paying attention to the rules of the house or issues with job attendance. We want them to stay focused and not really follow the crowd,” said Gretta Bush, with HPCAV.
Bush said the kids they see in the program usually have misdemeanor charges such as larceny, simple affray, personal property injuries, shoplifting and assault.
“Those are the things that we will get involved in. They go through the program and assist with things like putting them on a curfew, getting them employed, in school full time and helping them create a plan of action so that they are successful,” Bush said.
Hayes said that the program is not so much a community service as much as it is a responsibility.
“It is something that I was born to do,” Hayes said. “This is something that I am passionate about. My calling in life is to help people. I want to help someone make a difference. That’s why I do this.”
For more information on the program, contact Bush or Teresa Hayes-Amusan at (336) 454-4505.
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