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New details of the Roland Williams sports program

Rochester, N.Y. - Roland Williams is a commanding figure both on and off the football field.

The former NFL player and Super Bowl winner, was born in Rochester and wants to give back to young people here.

For years, Williams has hosted a football camp for youth in the summer. Now he hopes to empower city youth with a program that uses football to teach kids everything from leadership skills to conflict resolution.

The city is proposing to spend $249,000, which would go towards Williamss foundation, to help mentor young men between the ages of 13 and 18.

City Council Members will vote on the program next week, but some like Carolee Conklin said they werent given enough information about this proposal and they feel its too narrowly focused, because it only includes young men, not women.

Conklin also said no other proposals were submitted from other agencies, so council could review choices and talk about funding issues.

Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Lovely Warren gave 13WHAM a copy of the summary proposal Williams gave to city leaders.

It includes pictures of activities young men will be involved in.

Williams said his program will provide young men with 100 mentors and improve everything from the mental and physical health to graduation rates.

Williams said he doesnt know where he would be today without football in his life. He hopes to share that philosophy and experience with young men in the program.

He said football isnt just a sport, but teaches valuable life skills.

Deputy Mayor Len Redon likes the approach of Williams program. He said its like creating gangs of good people to serve as role models for our young people.

Redon said he does understand concerns that some council members have. He has also shared his concerns with Williams and told him that he expects to see some results.

I think its very important and Ive had this conversation with Roland, we need to have some clear measures of success, either he hits them or he doesnt. If he hits them, maybe we expand the program, if he doesnt, we maybe do something else, said Redon.

Williams is the father of three young boys. He said he is relocating his family to Rochester. He is also being paid by the Rochester City School District to improve its football programs.

City Council will vote on the proposal next week.

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Washington Times