2011 Hall of Fame Enshrinee Deion Sanders came to Canton, Ohio with TRUTH.
“Truth” in this case is the name that adorned the group’s shirts. And you could easily locate them making their way around the Hall grounds. They were in attendance for the Enshrinement Ceremony and they watched the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Hall’s new addition.
I had a chance to ask several members of the squad exactly what TRUTH stands for. They responded in unison: “Trust in God, Respect Myself and Others, Understand I have unlimited possibilities, Try my best and never give up, Honor myself and the Truth Creed at all times”.
Coach Ray Elder was with the group and I asked him to share a little more about the program. He said the boys range in age from 5 to 14. The team has buses that pick the teammates up for practice and they provide a way home for them as well. The children/young adults have access to instruction in various sports, however this was the football unit. He said the organization provides a place for the kids to grow as individuals. They also provide an alternative to the temptations our youth normally encounter.
The coaches provide instruction to kids first and foremost in life. But they also value education. They currently have teams for football, baseball, basketball and soccer and they do not discriminate based on gender. Through visiting their website (http://www.ptasports.org/) I was able to find that they also work with young women.
The effort is spearheaded by Prime Time Association. The nonprofit organization founded by Deion and his wife Pillar. The mission of Prime Time Association is:
Our mission is to serve communities by reaching and teaching our youth through sports and education. We promote positive self images by providing an environment of coaches, mentors and tutors who believe in our youth. We encourage them to embrace the highest values and sense of responsibilities to their families, peers and communities. We invest in the mental, spiritual, physical, financial and overall well being to build stronger kids by reinforcing education.
Their trip to Canton was funded by the parents of the team. The cost of $325 per child was economical considering the trip. They started out in Dallas but they had an agenda. Stops included games at the University of Memphis and Louisville. In their efforts they like to expose the kids to the college experience. So they plan their trips accordingly. In fact their stay in Canton included Malone University.
Word from Deion was they won their games. From my perspective they have won a great deal more than just a game.