Miles Sanders gives back to the youth community and hopes for change originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders grew up in Pittsburgh attending Steelers camp events and is now paying for that by providing the same opportunity to his community in hopes of changing the lives of young people.
Sanders, who was drafted by the Eagles in 2019, thinks the biggest key to seeing a change in the world is working with children. It aims to make a positive impact by providing children with fun learning experiences in the field, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and good character.
“I’m watching how the world is, the country, I’m just trying to help in my own way…I’m trying to create change,” Sanders told NBC. “The only way I know to do it is with young people, you have to change their mentality. You have to change their way of thinking in a certain way by simply showing them that you can do it in a different way. I just try to give these kids a bigger picture when they see guys like me or anybody else. Because I remember being one of those kids when I was young.
Sanders says the most rewarding part of hosting youth soccer camps is interacting with kids who look up to him and other soccer players. Some of the most important conversations with these kids involve asking simple questions like what their name is or if they’re having fun at the event.
The positive feedback Sanders receives from the parents of these children is also worth it, knowing that he has made a difference, even in the smallest measure.
“I just remember being a kid and thinking a football player is a superhero,” Sanders said. “And then when you hear the comments from the parents and they tell you how nice you are to the kids, how interactive you are with the kids, it’s genuine because I really want to see those kids smile. I really want to see these kids grow up and do something for themselves, I don’t want to see anyone on the street making bad decisions.
Sanders and his mother teamed up last summer to host their first Miles Sanders Youth Soccer Camp in Pittsburgh. The camp was a three-hour event for children ages 6-13 and was completely free for the 250 attendees.
Sanders, who played college football for Penn State for three seasons, preaches the importance of education for children. He says the most important thing is to graduate from high school and work hard in the classroom because talent on the pitch can only take you so far.
“No matter how talented you are in high school, you have to have the grades to get into school,” Sanders said. “And I’ve seen too many players like me, people like me in this town where I come from, go to bed. It’s over. I can’t even count my fingers.
Sanders, who is a key part of the Eagles’ undefeated 2022 season, credits his mother for helping him dedicate time to youth and providing undying love for him and his brothers.
“My mom sacrificed everything her whole life to make sure my two brothers and I are where we are today,” Sanders said. “So that’s what I do. I went there for my mother. It was just her and me. We’ve done a lot together since I came into the league and we’re just trying to do so much for the community and the business and all kinds of things. She’s my right arm right now.
Sanders and the Eagles (5-0) return to competition on October 16 as they face the Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.