Planting a garden at school; Practicing in character building skills; Exploring animal habitats through research; Learning about healthy foods and physical fitness – these are just a few examples of what a group of about 400 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 parents, mentors, and volunteers, these youth are celebrating their accomplishments this week because they earned their seat to today's Jaguars game against the Colts.
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.
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 has developed innovative programs to empower youth. Many of these programs have received national recognition and have been widely replicated.
This year, more than 4,200 seats have been awarded to 43 nonprofit agencies. Almost 3,300 youth alone will have participated in the program by the end of the 2006 season. In the past eleven seasons, the Foundation has awarded nearly 35,000 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 for today's game:
Communities In Schools Nassau county – 40 youth
Communities In Schools St. Johns county – 98 youth
Duval County 4-H Foundation – 112 youth
EPIC Community Services – 40 youth
Guardian of Dreams – 80 youth
Jacksonville Public Library Foundation – 14 youth
PACE Center for Girls – 22 youth
For more information about The Foundation's Honor Rows Program or other Foundation initiatives, please contact Tarek Tabet at 633-6579.