BALTIMORE, Md. — Joel Gamble is used to helping kids. He’s been doing it for seven years through his Joel Gamble Foundation.
"Our mission is to provide youth with opportunities and resources in order for them to become successful," he said.
One of those resources the West Baltimore native and former NFL fullback and tight end’s foundation provides is an annual flag football league and free football camp in Baltimore City. But with coronavirus cancellations Gamble needed to call an audible.
"We still wanted to find a way to still engage the youth and provide them with an opportunity but keeping them safe," he said. "We decided to have the virtual NFL Skills and Drills program."
100 kids, most from Baltimore City, ages 5-to-18 are taking part. 70 of them got free tablets. They all got their jerseys like normal. Each Saturday they hop online to connect with their teammates and get advice from Gamble and his NFL buddies.
"The youth get the chance to learn from NFL Players professionals and coaches, get to hear their journey and their struggles of making it and becoming successful," said Gamble.
The first session was last weekend. Sykesville, Md. native and Patriots linebacker Brandon Copeland took part. Former Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes also made an appearance.
The kids were all in.
"You could just see their faces just light up," said Gamble.
It’s all about doing the most with what you have. That’s one of the lessons Gamble hopes his virtual campers learn over the next seven weeks.
"It’s all about being flexible. You have to be, basically, a chameleon. You’re ready to move and ready to work with whatever you have," he said. "If you are able to kind of adapt, then you’ll always be successful in whatever it is that you’re trying to do."
For more on the Joel Gamble Foundation click here.