Planting a butterfly garden; Improving their FCAT scores; Practicing character building skills; Learning about healthy foods and physical fitness – these are just a few examples of what a group of about 600 motivated youth did to qualify for a seat in the Honor Rows. Honor Rows is a unique program that empowers disadvantaged youth to reach beyond their challenging circumstances. With help from more than 100 parents, mentors, and chaperones, these youth are celebrating their accomplishments because they earned their seat to today's game.
Seated in the 300-level section of the North End Zone, boys and girls worked hard to improve their academic performance, attained personal goals, and participated in a variety of community service projects. In addition, all youth made and kept a pledge to abstain from tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
Note that at the end of the first quarter, Delores and Wayne Weaver will wave in congratulations to the youth and their agencies for persevering and earning their seat to today's game. Please join the Weavers and other fans in The Wave.
Honor Rows is an innovative program that uses seats at Jaguars home games as incentives for young people to set and achieve ambitious but realistic goals. The flexibility of the program allows nonprofit agencies to determine how best to use seats for their particular program. Youth are encouraged every step of the way to attain their individual goals.
Each Honor Rows participant receives a special T-shirt, hat, free meal, certificate of achievement and recognition at the stadium during the game. Yet, the personal goals and skills each youth attains have a long-lasting impact on their future.
Honor Rows was instituted in 1995 during the Jacksonville Jaguars inaugural season, "The Season of Firsts." The Jaguars Foundation received the 1996 and 2003 Governor's Community Investment Award and continues to serve as a demonstration site for other sports leagues and franchises.
This year, more than 4,300 seats have been awarded to 39 agencies with multiple programs; the largest in the Honor Rows program's history. Almost 3,300 youth alone will have participated in the program by the end of the 2005 season. In the past eleven seasons, the Foundation has awarded more than 30,500 Honor Rows seats to youth, parents, mentors and agency staff. This is in addition to the donation of other charitable seats.
The Jaguars Foundation is sponsored by Reebok and Alltel. The United Way of NE Florida mobilizes game-day volunteers who ensure the safety and enjoyment of Honor Rows participants.
The following agencies are present at today's game:
Communities In Schools Jacksonville – 350 youth
Communities In Schools St. Johns – 91 youth
Duval County 4-H Foundation – 112 youth
Heart to Heart S.A.V.E. Program – 31 youth
YMCA Baker County – 22 youth
For more information about The Foundation's Honor Rows Program or other Foundation initiatives, please contact Tarek Tabet at 633-6579.