Ex-Colonel Football Standout "Walking Example" for At-Risk Youth
He grew up a ward of the state, whether in a foster home, other residential setting or detention center.
While most athletes worry about their statistics, David Carter was worried more about becoming one. With football as his outlet, he starred at Louisville Fairdale High School and then at Eastern Kentucky University, where was a three-year starter at defensive tackle on the gridiron, earning team Defensive MVP honors, and a Colonel Scholar in the classroom before graduating with a bachelor's degree in sports management in 2014.
Now, with an assist from his alma mater, Carter is helping disadvantaged teens see the value of education and get a taste of the college atmosphere. A resident counselor at the Home of the Innocents, a facility serving at-risk youth in Louisville, Carter often brings groups from the Home to Colonel sporting events, especially football games. A sizable group also attended a recent men's basketball game, where the youth got to shag balls for the Colonels at their pre-game shootaround.
"I noticed the interest in sports the kids had as they were glued to the TV when football or basketball was on," Carter said. "So I asked them, if I were to make it possible, would they like to go to a real-life game."
His motivation varies from child to child.
"We have a couple of kids who will be of college age soon," he explained, "and I wanted them to get somewhat of an experience that college had to offer. For others, my motivation is to make sure that the kids are able to participate in activities just like any normal kid would in a home setting. The kids love it! They really get into the game and just to say they went to a live college game is very special for them. I enjoy listening to the stories they tell when they speak of how they meet the players, coaches and the intensity they show when they cheer for the team."
Typically, the youth who accompany Carter to the EKU games are ages 13-17. "We determine who comes by their behavior throughout the week, or by those who have no activity restrictions."
In a Louisville Courier-Journal article in 2013, EKU Head Football Coach Dean Hood called Carter "a role model for our guys and an inspiration for our coaches."
Now Carter hopes to be the same for those under his care.
"Throughout my college career, I've always had positive people there to help me through whatever it was I was going through, whether it was Coach Hood, Coach (Jake) Johnson, Coach (Garry) Fisher, or a professor like Wardell Johnson. Like I explain to many of the kids, I used to be them. I was in the same place many of them were at their age, and I just want them to understand that there's always hope regardless of the situation they're in.
"I am a walking example of that."
Published on March 01, 2015