From July 14-15, 2023, NFL quarterback Tyrod Taylor of the New York Giants hosted the Tyrod Taylor Community Weekend located at Citizens Unit Boys and Girls Club in Hampton, Virginia. The first activity was yoga on July 14 facilitated by Rylan Ashlee at the Tyrod Taylor Wellness Center which is located in the Boys and Girls Club.
There were basketball games, free food, animals, bounce houses, food trucks, free haircuts and much more on July 15. Taylor played outdoor basketball at the same Boys and Girls Club location with a lot of his friends when he was young.
Taylor, who grew up in Hampton, Virginia said he wants to help the community. The Tyrod Taylor Foundation started in 2018 with a T2 Community Day event.
“I think it’s big to pour back into the community because they’ve shown me so much support throughout my career. For me to come back and be able to put a wellness center in the neighborhood that I grew up in, it means a lot to me,” Taylor said.
Other things that Taylor has done in Hampton include: turkey drives, Christmas toy drives and adopting families for Christmas. Taylor seemed very down to earth. He also explained that he never does kind deeds for publicity.
“It’s just really out of the kindness of my heart. I believe if you have the opportunity to give back to the community, then do so,” Taylor said.
Hal Smith, the president and CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Boys and Girls Club, explained the background of collaborating with Taylor:
“In 2018, we decided that we needed to renovate the space [the club that the kids participate in after school]. We had talked to the city about getting some funding support through the city. About that time Tyrod Taylor had reached out to [ I think either directly or through his business associate] Mayor Donnie Tuck who is still the mayor in the City of Hampton. He wanted to invest resources into the community and was looking for a project to get behind. So, Mayor Tuck mentioned to Tyrod about the renovation that we were interested in doing at the Boys and Girls Club,” Smith said.
Taylor had spent time at the Club as a child. He took a tour through the building and was instantly on board with the project. More funds were raised, and a new gym was built instead of renovating the existing structure. According to Smith, Taylor was a major donor.
“So, that’s how we created the Tyrod Taylor Wellness Center,” Smith said.
Construction was completed in March of 2023. Smith mentioned the impact of the collaboration.
“The impact to the kids is they have a brand-new part of the building to come in and play and learn about important things that will improve their mental health and help them deal with things that are going on in the community and things that kids have to deal with these days. For the community as a whole, I think it’s brought more of a sense of pride because it’s a brand-new space that’s been created in a very tight knit community. There’s been more folks that have wanted to come out and do more things at the site and give back and volunteer, so it’s just brought up a lot of community pride,” Smith said.
Youth from ages 5 to 18 are served at Boys and Girls Clubs. When the entire renovation is done next year, Smith stated that about 200 youth will be able to be served every day in the building at 1815 Shell Road.
In an interview with Taylor, he talked about how he got into football at the age of five, describing it as his first love in sports. He was drafted to the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 and played there for four years.
“From there, I went on to play in Buffalo for three years. Then, I got traded to Cleveland for a year. From there, I signed in free agency and played in LA with the Chargers for two years. I played in Houston for a year and I’m going into my second year with the Giants,” Taylor said.
He added that it is a dream come true to play a game for a living that he grew up playing but it’s also a tremendous responsibility, especially at the quarterback position.
“A lot of people are depending on you in the building as well as family members outside of the building,” Taylor said.
To learn more about the Tyrod Taylor Foundation, visit http://www.keep2triving.com/foundation.