Colts Cornerback Marlin Jackson Starts Field of Dreams Program
INDIANAPOLIS – A dream came true for Marlin Jackson last year.
That was when the Colts' fourth-year cornerback started the Marlin Jackson Fight For Life Foundation. It was a dream that involved more than football, and on Tuesday, he did something else he hopes will help dreams come true for others:
Namely, youth in Indianapolis and his hometown in Pennsylvania.
Jackson, a starting cornerback for the Colts, on Tuesday announced the start of the Field of Dreams incentive program this September in Indianapolis, as well as in his hometown of Sharon, Pa. The Field of Dreams program rewards youth for positive choices in life with a special emphasis on attitude, education and community service.
"It's just something I want to do," Jackson said after speaking to about 50 children who will be involved with the program at the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis.
"I love working with children, and I've been motivated to do this since college. Starting my foundation, we were thinking, 'How can we impact the community? How can we give back?' We thought about the Marlin Jackson Field of Dreams program.
"What better way to reward kids for positive behavior in the classroom, the community and at home?"
The program is structured to encourage children to make positive decisions and avoid negative behaviors. It benefits children between the ages 8-12.
"They are the most impressionable," Jackson said. "This is where you're going to either go right or left at that fork in the road. You want to point these kids to go right and make the right decisions and right choices in their lives."
Using a giant football field to chart their progress, members have the opunity to receive incentive items based on their personal successes in school, home and at the community center. As the youth meet goals in these areas, they gain yards on the football field.
Incentive items include tickets to Colts home games, autographed memorabilia, NFL and Colts items, Glaceau vitaminwater, Cadbury Candy, Catch the Action football games and coupons to local businesses including Wendy's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Steak and Shake, and Quaker Steak & Lube.
Youth that reach their goals during the season and score a touchdown will get to attend a party with Marlin at the end of the season.
"One of the main things I think about when I'm doing this is, 'What if I would have had the opportunity to see something like this? Would this have sparked something in me a little earlier in life?' '' Jackson said. "I ultimately got to where I wanted to be in life, but maybe something like this would have helped me even more.
"I feel it's my duty and my calling to give back to these kids and help them out anyway I can."