Rochester Native Quentin Gause, linebacker for the Denver Broncos, sits in the back of the room preparing to speak to an audience full of children, parents and recreation center staff. He is there for the center’s Black History Month program. Within ear shot, one kid half whispers, “he’s here. It’s going to be lit.”
Gause takes his time at the front of the room to discuss the importance of having practical steps and goal-setting to reach success. He tells the raptly-listening children how he seriously dedicated himself to setting and reaching his goals and he gave them practical advice to do so: write them down.
“I kept asking myself how do I separate myself from everyone else around the country?” he said. “I had to have goals, I wrote them down, I put them in my phone and I looked at them everyday.”
“It was important that I got a mentor and I had many,” he added.
Anthony Jordan is one of them. Already renowned in the community for his dedication to youth and uplifting neighborhoods, he’s also a noted mentor. A former-NFL-player, Gause said he is a staple and life mentor for him. The two met when Gause failed out of football camp. He came home so discouraged that he called his uncle and his father to ask for ways to improve. His father drove him to the North Street Recreation Center and introduced him to Jordan.
Now the events coordinator for the NE Quadrants Parks and Recreation, Jordan is able to expand his reach on kids like Gause, curating an interest in sports, self-confidence and many more life skills.
“Mentoring can help youth as they go through challenging life transitions, including dealing with stressful changes at home or transitioning to adulthood. Close, healthy, supportive relationships between mentors and mentees that last for a significant portion of time (i.e., more than one year) are central to success,” states Youth.gov, a website by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP).
After speaking to the children at the event, OM got the chance to speak with Gause about his career, following his dreams and leaving and giving back to Rochester.
“I never wanna be that guy the guy who gets big and forgets where he came from, the guys who never reached back to help his community,” he said. He said he’d be working with local children all week, taking advantage of February recess for the extra time children have off.
“All week we’re having events to give back to the community. Every day we want to keep the kids motivated,” he said. And opportunities like this allow him to come home, something he misses dearly:
“The hardest part was leaving my family but I miss my community most because I’ve given so much to it.”