With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Posted Oct 30, 2014

Read about what makes wide receiver Chris Givens this week's Community Player of the Week.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Plenty of kids will be dressed as Spiderman this Friday for Halloween, and it seems Chris Givens’ mom has been touting the virtues of the red and blue superhero since he was trick or treating age.

“My mom always told me to whom much is given, much is required,” said Givens. “I’m the oldest of four boys, so I’ve always been in a position of leadership and a position where I was watched and had to do things the right way. So I just look at this as a part of my gift and why God put me here.”

The gift Givens referenced is his community work, and more specifically, his role at Lift For Life Gym.

Lift for Life is a gym for at-risk St. Louis children ages eight to 18 that provides a meal each night, fitness and other activities, team sports, tutoring and mentoring services, and life skills training.

“Our kids come from very tough home situations as 95% are at the poverty level,” said Lift For Life’s Board President Danny Lewin. “There isn’t a lot of hope in their neighborhoods. So for them to be around Chris and know that he came from a similar situation and made it to the NFL is so important. Chris gives them hope and encouragement and for that, we are beyond grateful.”

“I just want to be open and available to try to relate to them the best way I can so they know it’s not something I have to do, but I want to be here,” said Givens. “I just try to have as much fun as possible to keep everyone loose so kids can feel like they can talk to me about anything and feel open to come to me with anything in their life.”

Givens’ involvement at the gym goes beyond playing with them and a mentoring role. Last year, he set up the Givens for Grades program. Each student that turned in A’s and B’s was invited to Givens’ end of school party. His ticket program for games also goes to the kids of Lift for Life, and sometimes that includes field passes for kids excelling in the grades program. This year, he has expanded the grades program to a more all-encompassing life skills program that includes resume writing classes and career counseling.

“There was a kid who wasn’t necessarily on the right path,” said Givens. “Once I started my Givens for Grades program, he was a senior and no one thought he would graduate. He got his grades up and ended up graduating high school. It brought tears to my eyes because I feel like that’s why God gave me these gifts. Every kid should graduate high school, and if I can be part of their motivation, that makes my day.”

“My staff and I love getting out in the community and visiting with local non-profits to learn about their mission and how we might be able to help,” said Molly Higgins, Rams vice president of corporate communications & civic affairs.  “A couple years ago, we did a site visit to Lift for Life Gym and when Chris approached us about getting involved when he came to St. Louis, they seemed like a great fit.  He’s done an unbelievable job forging meaningful relationships with those kids and going above and beyond to motivate and reward them. Nicole (Woodie), our player involvement manager, is always sharing new stories of his commitment to these kids and it’s incredible.  He’s become a terrific role model and mentor who cares passionately about them. It’s so rewarding to see.”

In the last week in addition to his involvement with Lift for Life, Givens has also made hospital visits to Cardinal Glennon Children’s with the Basket of Hope program and attended the Taste of the NFL event at the St Louis Area Food Bank. That is why Givens’ has earned this week’s community player of the week award.

Clearly you don’t need a red and blue mask to take responsibility seriously.  

About the Rams Community Player of the Week: Each week during the 2014 season, the St. Louis Rams will select a player who has made a positive impact on the Greater St. Louis community, giving of himself off the field. Each honored Rams Community Player of the Week will receive a gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the Official Steak House of the St. Louis Rams.