The Seattle Seahawks’ Jermaine Kearse has made spectacular catches throughout his NFL career, but perhaps his greatest reception is captivating kids and helping families.
Those outreach efforts include his support of Junior Achievement.
Kearse visited Auburn on Friday to join the Junior Achievement of Washington’s JA World 10-year anniversary celebration and mention the launch of his nonprofit organization.
The 15 to 1: Jermaine Kearse Foundation supports and inspires youth in military families to work hard, persevere and find success through positive choices, experiences and opportunities.
Kearse, a former Lakes High School and University of Washington star, grew up in a military family and understands how kids living on base can be removed from everyday opportunities.
His foundation, much in the same way as JA, hopes to open those doors to others in need.
“Kids on military bases sometimes feel isolated … and they are not able to branch out and have opportunities that JA offers,” Kearse told the audience at JA World.
“When I first visited here, I said, ‘Man, I wish I had this when I was younger.’ … This is a great opportunity. JA is a wonderful thing.”
Kearse is committed to community work when he isn’t playing football. Such work is a byproduct of his mentality to never give up, especially in difficult times, and do his job for the team.
The NFL is an example.
Kearse caught the game-winning, 35-yard touchdown pass in overtime, lifting the Seahawks to miraculous 28-22 win over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game in January.
Seattle trailed 19-7 with about four minutes remaining and had been ineffective on offense all game.
“I can’t imagine what you guys felt, but it was a roller coaster of emotions,” Kearse told the audience. “You can get so low and you can get so high. … Things are not always going to go the way you planned them. They are not always going to be perfect, but you’re going to have to pull through with some bumps in the road. And that’s what we did.”
Kearse was one of the keynote speakers at the JA event. Kevin Mather, president and CEO for the Seattle Mariners, and Jim Shoemake, former superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools, also spoke.
The event brought business leaders, teachers and community members together to celebrate 10 years of JA inspiring the dreams and imaginations of nearly 170,000 youth throughout Western Washington.
JA announced new partnerships along with substantial gifts that will impact its Growth Plus Sustainability Campaign, to be used to expand the number of students reached through its experiential learning programs, JA BizTown and JA Finance Park, at JA World in Auburn.
Allstate Insurance contributed $400,000 to JA of Washington. BECU also provided a substantial lead gift and was awarded the JA’s Financial Literacy Legacy Award.
“Currently we are reaching 108,000 students, and while this is a great number, we need to be reaching one million students,” said Executive Board Chair Danielle Burd.
About Junior Achievement of Washington
For 62 years, JA has been a part of Washington communities – working with schools and businesses – to build strong, viable partnerships that serve young people. Guided by the basic beliefs of integrity, respect and excellence, JA’s purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. JA fulfills its purpose via educational programs that focus on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness.
For more information, visit www.jawashington.org.
To learn more on the Jermaine Kearse Foundation, visit 15to1.org.