Heisman trophy finalist Caleb Williams recently visited the Challengers Boys and Girls Club to host an anti-bullying assembly with students. This was a kickoff event for the partnership between Williams’ foundation, Caleb Cares and the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA).
This was a full-circle moment for the USC signal caller as he was a Boys and Girls Club kid growing up.
Along with the assembly, the students got a chance to have a Q&A session with Williams where they asked him about his life as a student athlete.
“It’s an awesome kind of feeling to be able to do something like this for others,” Williams said. “It was cool to get up in front of them and talk or interact with them, answer their questions.”
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The partnership also includes the Caleb Cares Hero Award, a monthly honor for a student who displayed respect, kindness, and empathy. Williams presented the inaugural award to N’lah Ferns and gave her a backpack, a bobblehead figure and other gifts. The award will be given out every month for the next year.
“I was proud of myself, I was shy because it was a lot of people around,” Ferns said. “I was very happy that I got to win.”
USC students and students from the Boys and Girls Club participated in skits that displayed different bullying scenarios and discussed ways to resolve them.
The Caleb Cares Foundation is about routing for the underdog, its main pillars are antibullying, youth empowerment, and mental health awareness. BGCMLA board member JR Regisford noted how Caleb Cares’ mission is aligned with the values of the Boys and Girls Club.
“They get to see [Williams] on the weekends on TV, here he is where they hang out every day after school,” Regisford said. “The Boys and Girls Clubs are always trying to find positive partners to help mentor or bring positive messaging to the young kids we have at our clubs.”
After the assembly, the students were able to enjoy a lunch catered by Fatburger.
Williams’ parents instilled in him the importance of giving back. Patsy Mangus, who helps Williams run Caleb Cares, noted how community service was important at his high school, Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C.
“There’s a church on campus and underneath the church is a homeless shelter,” Mangus said. “The boys are encouraged to serve meals often to the homeless men so you’re always giving, you’re always doing something with social justice.”
When it comes to dealing with bullies, Williams noted how having a support system and expressing feelings can be a solution to the issue. Williams’ support system is made up of his parents and mentors.
“They’re always there for me whenever I need to speak up about something or talk about something I might not talk or show anyone,” Williams said to the students. “Have someone that you know that you love and that loves you to be able to sit there and speak to you so that you’re able to speak up and let everything out and express everything.”