2017 Super Bowl Champion visits Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia

Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 10:54 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The kids of the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia were surprised by a very special visitor Monday.

2017 New England Patriot and Super Bowl champion Malcolm Mitchell wants to encourage kids in the Star City.

“The truth is some of the challenges they faced – I faced,” said Mitchell. “You know, some of the obstacles that people told me would limit, you know, my opportunities in life, I’m sure they face as well.”

Off the field, Mitchell worked hard to overcome one of his fears – reading.

“I went from scared to read out loud to understanding I did not read well to writing picture books for students,” explained Mitchell.

In 2019, Mitchell announced his retirement from the NFL due to injuries after just two seasons, something he shared with the little ones who attend the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia.

“When they hear Malcolm’s story that they realize that they can do whatever they want to do, and that plan A may not always be the plan, but there is a great plan for you if you just keep pushing for what you want,” said Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia CEO Rebekah Meadows.

COX Communications partnered with the nonprofit to bring the former NFL player to Roanoke.

“To really talk to them about the importance of things like reading and respect and those sorts of things,” explained Marketing Vice President Jeff Merritt. “It’s a great opportunity for us at Cox to really make a difference in our community.”

Despite the obstacles in life, Mitchell wants to make sure kids know anything is possible.

“I hope they look at me and say, whatever people say is not true, is that I can do it,” added Mitchell. “And here’s an example of somebody who faced similar challenges that was able to persevere.”