A former Chicago Bear runs defense against violence and gang activity for kids in at-risk neighborhoods.
Ray McElroy is a Bellwood native and former NFL cornerback who played for the Bears for one season.
Over the last eight years, his Pro Football Youth Camp has served nearly 2,000 kids ages 10 to 18. The camps features three days of free professional instruction from former NFL players.
McElroy says the goal of the camp is not to train kids to be professional athletes, but to help them become better people.
“For me, success is these kids making good decisions and being productive in the community,” McElroy said. “I think that’s the most success they can have.”
Although McElroy’s team only gets three days with the children, he says they stay in touch throughout the year. He says nearly 75 percent of them, along with their families, make a commitment to refocus their lives toward education, family values and faith.