DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jason Witten, who retired from the NFL on Thursday, is known for more than his accomplishments on the field. He’s also earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s most generous players – and for good reason.
At the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas, Jason Witten has “Man of the Year” status for a lifetime.
“Jason has been instrumental in our overall success here with the kids,” says Ci’Andria Jefferson, branch director of the Oak Cliff Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas.
Through his SCORE Foundation, he funded four teen centers, providing couches, TVs, carpeted tile from the Cowboys’ locker room and more. He saves 50 spots for members at the Jason Witten Football Camp. and provides food for kids to take home every weekend. But Jefferson says it’s his interaction with the kids that’s the most profound.
“He sits, talks to the kids and wants to get to know them. ‘What are your aspirations? Where would you like to go to school?'” says Jefferson.
It’s a cause close to his heart, because he was once a Boys and Girls Club member himself.
“He wants to give back like the community did for him when he was growing up in the club,” Jefferson says.
But there’s more. His “SCOREkeepers” program is at 6 shelters, including The Family Place in Dallas. It provides male mentors to serve as leaders and role models for the shelter’s children.
“Just to know that person of his stature stands up and speaks against domestic violence has been incredibly impactful,” says Paige Flink, CEO of The Family Place. “When Jason Witten speaks, people listen. He’s very much of a leader in our community, on the Dallas Cowboys and certainly in the NFL.”
A role she knows will continue and grow beyond his days as a Cowboy.
“I actually think Jason will now have a bigger voice. He’s now on a national platform,” says Flink.
Witten has also made contributions all throughout his home state of Tennessee. He is actually already a Hall-of-Famer – he was inducted into the Boys and Girls Club alumni Hall of Fame last year.