INDIANAPOLIS— Every time
Those 60,000 plus usually listen to Redding and on Sunday against the Raiders, 15 of those fans had a very special connection to the 11-year NFL veteran.
Redding has challenged students at Lighthouse Academies to make a pledge to be at school, have respect for others, and work hard to maximize their education.
In return of adhering to the pledge, Redding rewards those students with tickets to each Colts home game.
“This year’s goals is just to motivate the kids to come to school every day, turn in their work, be responsible, be respectful and in return they get rewarded. When you have somebody like myself to come in and reiterate all those words that their parents and teachers have been telling them, hopefully the kids realize we are probably saying for it a reason,” Redding said on Tuesday morning.
“It might not catch on now. It might not catch on tomorrow but eventually, hopefully that seed we sow today will catch on. That’s what I want from this program, just to hear the words, be inspired by this little, bitty incentive. Hopefully, this small incentive can be great in the future.”
On Tuesday, Redding visited Lighthouse Academy and spoke to fifth, sixth and seventh graders in the school’s gymnasium.
Joined by the Colts mascot "Blue", Redding talked about the importance of “not letting your good getting in the way of being great".
He then followed that up with a question and answer session where the students asked a variety of questions to the Colts defensive end.
Even though the program is still in the early stages of the school year, Karen White (Lighthouse Academy’s Director of Teacher Leadership) is already seeing the benefits.
“We took our first group of kids to the game last weekend and the ones that got to go were pumped about it,” White said. “One of our struggles here as a school is building a sense of community so I think this is going to be a good opportunity to start doing that and getting more families and kids invested in not just coming here and learning, but the community aspect, too.
“They hear it from their parents. They hear it from their teachers so having somebody new, especially a public figure, saying that is going to have a huge impact.”
As a father of three young children, Redding looked out at the students on Tuesday afternoon and saw hundreds of chances to impact lives at an early stage.
“We have a big influence on people because of what we do and what stage we are on,” Redding said. “Why not use that power for good, why not use that powerful energy to inspire other people, especially young people.
“If they can start that now, rather than later, I think we’ll have a more effective community as long as we can target them now.”
Redding has only called the Indianapolis area home for a year and a half but it’s clearly evident how much he has embraced impacting those in the community.
Tuesday’s event will be the first of many that Redding will have a hand in during the season and he’s grateful to be in a locker room that takes such an initiative in “Community Tuesday’s.”
“I’ve seen tremendous things from what my teammates and I have been doing across the city of Indianapolis,” Redding said on Tuesday.
“I’ve seen a lot of people just walk up to me in the community and thanking us. Those are things that let me know that what we are doing is right, and where we are going is down the right path and we are super motivated to keep doing what we are doing for the Colts community and Indianapolis.”