Savannah Eagles: Organizing games and managing lives - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah Eagles: Organizing games and managing lives

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The appeal of the Savannah Eagles is obvious to the young people in the program.

"We play football, basketball, baseball and track," said 8-year old Aaron Bacon.

But the value is in the lessons that come from those sports, the structure, direction and advice involved in each game or practice that transfers from the field to the classroom.

"There are a lot of young people who just need help,'' said program founder Justin Walker. "They need someone to talk to, someone to reach out to and that's what the Savannah Eagles provides.''

Walker started the youth mentoring program last year to provide guidance through sports, and to pass along the influence of the people who taught him how to play.

"Each generation has to pick up the next generation that's to come,'' said Walker. "Coaches have always had an impact on my life, from picking me up to dropping me off to spending time to checking on me at school and they became coaches but also mentors and that was always one aspect I wanted to give back to the community.''

Walker has had help from the community in building the Eagles program, other volunteer coaches and doctors or lawyers willing to share their success stories with the kids.

The program also stresses focus on schoolwork.

"If you don't keep your grade levels up, you sit out a couple of games,'' said 10-year old Timothy Foxworth. "They say respect your teachers and pay attention.''

And in just a matter of months, through several sports seasons, the Eagles have been paying attention, to the message as well as the score.

"I got in trouble one day, or I was about to,'' said 12-year old Amonte Jeff. "I just thought of coach Walker and was like, 'I don't want to let coach Walker down.'  A whole bunch of people that I know, if I would have let them down, it would have broken their hearts.

"We all have a story to tell,'' added Walker. "We all have experiences that we can share and sharing those experiences and planting that seed in the young people, eventually, it will produce a harvest.''

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