Nearly 5 million children in the United States do not have access to playing sports. That is the reason why ESPN college football analyst and Good Morning America contributor Jesse Palmer has decided to join nonprofit Good Sports as its national spokesperson.
"Youth sports helped shape me in a lot of different ways," says Palmer. "When I became more aware and educated on the state of youth sports and the inability for so many who want to participate, I knew I wanted to be involved."
Palmer, who played quarterback for the Florida Gators and served as The Bachelor, already has a lot on his plate. But a natural born leader always wants to add more projects when they are near and dear to their hearts. It is clear that Palmer cares about youth sports. He also mentioned that there are a few more off-air initiatives to be announced soon, without Palmer indicating his specific plans.
"I'm excited about trying to be hands on, being in front of a lot of kids in the New York City area where I live and more national," says Palmer. "My goal for this doesn't have to do so much with spurring on other athletes. If it sparks involvement from others then that's great."
For Palmer, it's not about spearheading change among other athletes, but instead achieving a goal that will help children enjoy the activities that he was able to experience on his path to stardom. It is to ameliorate the lack of funds dedicated to youth sports in many locales, provide necessary sporting equipment and break the barriers attached to more expense sports.
"I think back to my upbringing and the social skills I learned, the life lessons and friends I made because I was fortunate enough to play, and how that impacted me and gave me self confidence," added Palmer. "Good Sports has already helped and benefited nearly 3 million kids, giving $18 million."
Palmer will work with Good Sports to help increase awareness about its mission and address the decline in youth sports participation across the country. He is joined by his employer ESPN, which joined the fight to increase youth sports participation by partnering with Good Sports earlier this year, which includes a $100,000 investment from ESPN to support Good Sports' expansion into the New York market.