Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas has been helping children for years, whether it’s the youth of South Florida, where he’s from, or taking a girl with spina bifida to the prom.
That’s right. When Thomas was a rookie with the Bears in 2011, he took Joslyn Levell, then an eighth-grader, to a school dance. Levell, who uses a wheelchair, didn’t have a date. Thomas caught wind of it and asked her out.
Levell was elated. Thomas was being Thomas – which is to say he was looking out for others.
“It’s something that’s always been a part of my family,” Thomas said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “My mom was always the team mom. She made sure everyone had something to eat after the game. She made sure everyone got home safely. My grandmother prayed often. I was raised with a lot of love. I was raised as an only child, too, so I looked at my teammates like brothers. It was a really cool thing to be a part of growing up as a young kid in South Florida. So there’s a different type of connection there.”
Thomas, a 27-year-old Fort Lauderdale native, established the J.T. Thomas Foundation several years ago in hopes of helping children.
“Our mission is to empower our youth through education,” Thomas explained. “I just feel like the kids aren’t always aware or as educated as they should be because regardless of circumstance, you always have a choice. You always have a decision to make. I think that’s one of the things I was put here on earth to do. Not just be a role model for kids, but to help a specific type of person, to help a specific type of kid, to let them know that the whole world is at their fingertips these days. . . . Think about all the things that you went through as a high schooler and think about my little brother and how he’s going to have to really overcome some challenges and be courageous over the next two or three years of his life because they’re so important to his development as a young man.”
Thomas’ brother, Jared, has autism.
“All the things that happen to us when we’re adolescents and young adults (is important),” Thomas said. “That’s our whole goal – to make people aware, to provide help where it’s needed. More than anything, I think it all boils down to education, which kind of supports my end goal of it all: one day having an all-boys academy back in my hometown. I just really feel like our young men need guidance. Sometimes in this world, they can be distracted by a lot of the things that are thrown at them.”