NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Titans tight end Delanie Walker visited Lighthouse Christian School on Wednesday, supporting some of Nashville's most at-risk children through his "Back to School COOL" program, a brand-new initiative of his Delanie Walker Gives Back Foundation.
During the event, Walker surprised 100 students grades 5-9 with backpacks full of essential school supplies, including pencils, notebooks, paper, binders and calculators.
"I grew up in a single-parent home where my mom basically couldn't afford to get me and my brother everything we needed for the first day of school," Walker said. "So that's why I'm here. [I'm] hoping these kids will want to do better [in school] with the backpacks and school supplies provided."
Following a pizza party, Walker shared his life experiences with the students and explained the importance of education, teamwork and good grades. He encouraged everyone to do their best and focus on accomplishing one goal at a time.
"I just want to give back to the community and make sure these kids understand that we do care about them," he added.
In addition to the backpacks, Walker gave each student a signed mini-football as a keepsake memory. The students showed excitement and confidence for the new school year, realizing they are more than prepared to succeed.
Walker established his foundation in 2014 with the goal to impact the lives of more than 20,000 Nashville and Middle Tennessee students by the end of 2017.
"He's not just providing school supplies or putting on a football camp, he's taking time to get to know them and show them there is someone who cares about their future," said Lauren Renschler, senior director of sports and entertainment for Centurion Strategies. "Delanie has a genuine desire to change the lives of young people for the better."
For more information on the Delanie Walker Gives Back Foundation, visit delaniewalker.org.