Pro Football Hall of Fame and Virginia Total Care Delivered Messages of Resilience and Inspiration to Local Youth
Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green connects with students during one of the “Strong Youth Strong Communities” Summits held at schools throughout the Petersburg City Public Schools system.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF) and Virginia Total Care, an organization committed to improving the health of Virginians throughout the Commonwealth and wholly owned subsidiary of Centene, held “Strong Youth Strong Communities” (SYSC) Summits at schools throughout the Petersburg City Public Schools system on Oct. 16. The SYSC summits are a central component of the PFHOF and Centene’s efforts to support the health of communities for generations to come by investing in today’s youth.
The youth summits were led by Hall of Famers Darrell Green, Bruce Smith, Aeneas Williams and Anthony Munoz, and former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Women’s Basketball player Iman McFarland. More than 1,800 teens from Petersburg High School, Pittman Academy and Vernon Johns Middle School attended the summits.
The youth of Petersburg are challenged by the exposure to crime, drugs, poverty and limited access to quality health care. This has resulted in an alarming surge of behavioral and mental health challenges among the school-aged population. The summits featured interactive breakout sessions giving students the chance to discuss the challenges they face and the opportunity to learn more about the resources available to help them overcome adversity. The pro athletes shared life lessons and ways that students can support one another, set goals and stay resilient as they chase their dreams.
The PFHOF and Virginia Total Care partnered with the City of Petersburg, Petersburg City Public Schools, Central Virginia Health Services and the YMCA of Greater Richmond on this event.
“Virginia’s youth has seen an increase in anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide,” said Centene’s Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Zane Yates. “The SYSC summits are an important catalyst for change — through the partnerships of organizations like the PFHOF and local, like-minded organizations, we have an important and timely opportunity to work together to advance awareness of resources and services that can support a brighter future for students across Petersburg. We are pleased to have the opportunity to support more than 1,800 students through access to resources and tools to support them in navigating the challenges they face at home, in school and with their peers.”
“Growing up in today’s world can be rough and present trying moments. Difficult situations at home or at school, combined with social isolation or trauma of different kinds, can create mental health challenges,” said PFHOF member, Darrell Green. “It’s so important for us to connect with these young people here in Petersburg and let them know how to find the resources they need to navigate these obstacles.”