Detroit Lions fullback Jason Cabinda has been announced as this week’s NFLPA Community MVP.
Most people don’t know that Cabinda dedicates every Tuesday to students throughout Detroit. He donates books, provides snacks, gifts presents, and best of all, he lets these kids know they are seen, heard, and loved.
Cabinda made a statement on what this honor means to him after the announcement was made.
“Being named NFLPA Community MVP is a great honor! I take great pride in my efforts to serve youth and try my best to be an inspiration to them. I truly believe that it takes a village to raise a child and I want to show the youth of Detroit, that we here at the Detroit Lions organization, are their village! We want to see them achieve great heights in life by providing them with the resources, opportunity, and motivation they need to rise!”
Dan Campbell wasn’t even slightly surprised about the announcement. When I asked him about the work Cabinda does in the community this morning he spoke extremely highly about the player.
“He’s the type of guy that can change the world man. He’s all heart, he puts his time focus, and his money where his mouth is… He doesn’t do it for the recognition he does it because he truly cares.”
Cabinda Partners with Athletes for Charity
I have had the absolute pleasure of being a fly on the wall, capturing Cabinda’s work in the community every single week. From the start of the season when he held his 2nd Annual STEM Book Distribution, to this past week when he handed out Excellence Awards and devoted his time to playing games with students.
This is Cabinda’s third year of partnering with Athletes for Charity to benefit the students. He started right at the height of the pandemic when students were struggling through many challenges that resulted in extreme learning loss and other challenges. It was a turning point these students will remember forever.
President of Athletes for Charity, Cathleen Laporte, says she’s ecstatic for Cabinda and grateful for their partnership.
“Congratulations to Jason on being named the NFLPA’s Community MVP for Week 7! We are honored to partner with him to serve the youth of Detroit!”
She even thanked me in a statement for my work capturing Cabinda as well.
“Special thanks also to Madelyn Miller for shadowing Jason and capturing many special moments between Jason and the students!”
Jason Cabinda Goes Back to School
When Cabinda walks into a school, just his presence puts a smile on these kids’ faces. The way he can light up a room is unimaginable. I have witnessed him make a lunchroom roar and I’ve also stood by him while he listened, comforted, and taught a young, emotional student about taking responsibility for his actions.
Every week he rotates seeing schools in person and he makes every student, staff member, and volunteer feel like his best friend. Not to mention, he remembers several of them and can call them by name. Cabinda is so gentle with the young kids, teaching them the importance of attendance and trying hard in school. He emphasizes the importance of a good education and how your education should always come first.
With the older kids, he holds Q&A’s where he’s real about the struggles and hardships of being a professional athlete. But, he also emphasizes to them that football isn’t forever. Cabinda shares with students that the average football career only lasts three and a half years. He uses this to paint a picture of how important getting a good education is.
Jason challenges these students. He organizes writing competitions, rewards them for perfect attendance, and even battles them in mathematics. For those who don’t know, Cabinda is exceptional at math. He has challenged several students to a game of “24” for their chance to win gift certificates. This game puts your mental math to the test. A card is pulled with four numbers on it, and you have to use those four numbers to get to 24. You can use any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division to get there. Many students were up for the challenge, however, Cabinda was tough to beat.
It’s a Team Effort
Cabinda isn’t one to steal the limelight. He frequently rallies teammates to give a better experience to the students and make sure it’s a day they will remember. After every event, students are rushing to Cabinda’s side to ask for advice, autographs, photos, etc. They truly idolize this man and appreciate every second he spends with them.
No matter the week he has had or the questions he is asked he is always smiling and laughing and making it the best day these students have had. You can tell he is truly grateful he is able to be a blessing to these students and really make a difference for them. As the son of an educator, he knows how important school is and how it can shape you as an individual. He has even asked me for feedback on his mentoring sessions, asking if there’s anything he can add to make them more impactful.
Jason may be the most selfless individual I have ever had the pleasure of being around. His constant positive attitude and willingness to be a role model for these students is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I am extremely grateful to get to experience this side of him and capture it through my lens. I can honestly say there is no one more deserving of this award.
Maddy Miller – Detroit Lions Beat Reporter
On Twitter: @madelynvmillerr
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Detroit Lions fullback Jason Cabinda gives back