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Former NFL players use strength to motivate students

John Jacobs Next Generation Power Force inspired students to follow their dreams during a special presentation at several schools on Oct. 23.

The Next Generation Power Force is a group of former NFL players who travel the world to deliver motivational presentations to young people about overcoming obstacles.

Former Chicago Bears player Jerome King and former Carolina Panthers player Shawn King, brothers from West Monroe, La., spoke to students at Archer Lodge Middle, Glendale-Kenly Elementary, and West Smithfield Elementary.

“We love coming to small towns because we identify with these kids,” said Shawn King. “We didn’t have a lot of hope coming up. We didn’t have kids getting scholarships or even a reason to dream, but we made something of ourselves and know how one person following their dreams can inspire a whole town.”

The two use their impressive strength to capture the students’ attention, and then tie their strength into messages of goal setting and pursuing dreams. The King brothers performed strong-man activities such as ripping a telephone book in half with their teeth, breaking a wooden baseball bat over their knee, and rolling up a frying pan.

After their strength demonstration both brothers shared stories from their lives about the obstacles they faced while following their dreams. They encouraged students to have good character and to never give up.

“I hope these students will be encouraged at all times no matter what they’re going through,” said Jerome King. “I hope they learned that tough times don’t last, tough people do, and that there’s always a better day coming.”

Power Force Presentation
PHOTO1: Former Carolina Panthers player Shawn King lifts up West Smithfield Elementary fourth grade students Markel Mangum (left) and Urbano Cervantes (right) during a strength demonstration on Oct. 23.

Power Force Presentation 2
PHOTO2: Former Chicago Bears player Jerome King (right) uses a towel to represent the dreams of West Smithfield Elementary fourth grade student James Thomas and the importance of holding onto them.

Power Force Presentation 3

PHOTO3: West Smithfield Elementary fifth grade student Kendrick Crisp (left) ensures that a frying pan used during a strength demonstration is real, while his classmate Peter Matthews (right) looks on.