A survey on volunteering in the U.S. found that 52% of volunteers do it because they like doing something useful and helping others. Giving back is also good for your physical health. In a Canadian study, 85% of volunteers rated their health as “good,” compared to 79% of non-volunteers. Montai Boynton and Kelvinate Martin (KT) understand and know exactly what that feeling is like. I had the privilege of talking with KT recently.

 

Stenson: “What is Dream Chasers?”

Martin: “It’s a sports training organization slash recruiting. We train athletes in speed, agility, and position. Right now it’s mainly football. But we don’t put limitations on just football. Predominately it’s High School but we do some Middle School. There are a lot of organizations around here that just target kids with size when it comes to recruiting. We decided to try and help the kids who we know the big schools are not going to look at, and get them into a HBCU or Division III or Division II schools. Two to three years ago we started going to different camps. We rented the vans. We took kids who were excelling from our Shirley B. Winston location where we train four days a week for two hours. We were both just trying to help these kids out of the goodness of our heart which is why we don’t charge.”

 

Stenson: “What motivated you to get started with this?”

Martin: “I use to coach little league for seven years, the South Columbus Raiders. So I’ve always coached and tried to help kids. But long story short, my grandmother raised me. So I didn’t have anyone to put me in football or take me to practice, and I missed out on a lot of things. So we try to provide that parenting support that some of these kids don’t have. I think what really did it for me, was seeing kids in high school and making sure they didn’t get looked over because they not 6’4” or 6’5”.  We take the ‘undersized’ kids with talent and get them the exposure, to give them an opportunity to go to school.”

 

Stenson: “So you are working with a lot of ‘Honey Badgers’, Tyrann Mathieu that played at LSU.”

Martin: “Right. Right. They can actually perform on that level, but because the ‘standard’ says you have to be a particular size most people won’t give them the opportunity. We don’t go off standards. If we have a 5’10” defensive lineman and everyone says he has to be 6’3”, we still bring him to the camp. We will let you see him perform and you determine if he can play. Lyndon Johnson of Carver is one of the best defensive lineman in the area. He has dominated in the camps we took him to, going up against the standard 6’3” or 6’4” sized kids. But nobody would have given him a chance otherwise.”

 

Stenson: “Any other players you working with?”

Martin: “AJ LaGrand of Carver. Juvantae Martin of Carver. Nick Beason of Shaw. Cameron Jessie of Carver. Romello Kimbrough of Carver. Kayleem Bonds of Kendrick. Julian Robinson of Northside. Cole Sharer’fries of Harris County. Jacolbie Hatchett of Carver. U.S. Beasley of Carver. Deshawn Dawson of Carver. We are working with a lot of Carver players, not by our choice, it just worked out that way. Neither one of us are even Carver Alumni. We are just trying to help the kids. We just ask for dedication. The financial part is on us. We might ask the parents to provide something to eat when we go to a camp. What we get out of it is seeing these kids progress. Right now we have four kids with scholarship offers. Some are just waiting on ACT scores before they get their offer. It’s not just about the field, it’s about the classroom and life in general. My nickname from them is ‘Pastor’. I’m always drilling into them about being productive in life, making the right decisions, staying away from the streets, etc. So they like ‘Ok, Pastor, Ok Pastor, we get it’. If they need tutoring, we will get it for them and set up classes. We want them to get good grades, and so far all of them are. “

 

Stenson: “Are there any particular colleges or universities you work with when it comes to recruiting?”

Martin: “Alabama State is one. I know the coach over there. Some of the schools that can I personally call are East Tennessee, Charleston Southern, FAMU, Navy, Samford, and Furman. These schools can call and say, hey we have a camp coming up and we are looking for an offensive lineman or whatever the case is.”

 

It’s not every day that you have guys like Montai and KT who go out of their way to help kids for free. I applaud you both. If you would like to get in contact with them go to –

https://www.facebook.com/dreamchasersofcolumbus. “It is better to give than to receive.”

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