Ralph Wilson Stadium isn't the only place the Bills will show their talent this week. Cornerback Leodis McKelvin will be the head coach at a Kids Escaping Drugs football camp at the Cleve-Hill athletic fields in Cheektowaga on Saturday, June 13.
Young players from the Kids Escaping Drugs Renaissance Campus and local high school athletes from the Cleve-Hill School District will be working with McKelvin and a handful of other Bills players.
Teammates expected to assist McKelvin and Cleve-Hill district coaches include Bruce Hall, Felton Huggins, Demetrius Bell, Chris Ellis, and Jon Corto. Children will be spending the day learning about football, and more importantly, life lessons from their mentors.
Growing up, McKelvin remembers how he and his brothers never had the opportunity to meet a professional athlete or participate in a camp. Now entering his second season in the NFL, he understands the added responsibility playing in the league carries with respect to the youth in the city for which he plays.
"I don't want the kids in this community to end up the same way I did without an opportunity like this," McKelvin said. "We want to do what we can to help the kids."
In this case, help comes in the form of coaching and showing them how to choose a good path in life rather than one that leads to trouble. McKelvin hopes that teaching kids the basics of football could be the springboard to an opportunity to play in high school or college.
"We're going to go out there and teach the basics of football and also give them someone to look up to in life," he said.
McKelvin and draft classmate Chris Ellis agree that an opportunity like this at their age would have been very helpful. It's one reason so many other Bills offered to help.
"Leodis had been doing the Kids Escaping Drugs program all year last year, and it was something I wanted to be a part of," Ellis said. "Nothing like this was available where I grew up, so it's a great chance to give back to some of the kids in Buffalo."
The fans in the Buffalo community show consistent support for the Bills, and the athletes do what they can to return the favor. Having a mentor growing up can greatly increase the chances of being successful, and that gives a child a path to follow. In seeing McKelvin and his teammates up close and personal at this camp, the young aspiring players will better understand how hard work can lead to success.
"Just to have somebody to look up to, and someone to spend some time with you is always a plus. I want to give kids the opportunity to have that," said Ellis. "Just helping them out with the fundamentals, as well as life, and football. Anyway we can help out and bond with some of the kids will be a good thing."