A young boy asked if he could take five pencils – “one for each school day” – and was happily encouraged to do so.
West Side Boys & Girls Club branch manager John Hardeman highlighted the autonomy Osborn provided young people by organizing supplies so they could choose what they needed and preferred. .
“Something is going on with you, not at you. … It’s the flexibility he brought to it,” Hardeman said.
This is exactly what Osborn wanted.
“One of the things I try to emphasize when doing activities or giving, I want to be interactive. I want to show these kids, ‘Look, I was lucky enough to be able to play football, but I’m an ordinary person like everyone else,” he said. “I want to be able to talk to them, show them that I have feelings too. I have good days and bad days. I went through adversity like them.
“They see us on TV and from afar, pictures and things like that, but being able to go talk to them, shake their hands, hug them and talk and laugh and dance together, I really appreciate that.”
Osborn challenged the youngsters to a Griddy-off, cheering them on as they did their best impressions of the touchdown dance made famous by Justin Jefferson. Osborn clapped and cheered them on before choosing his two favorite renditions.
“I so appreciate what’s happening. It’s not fluff. It’s something we’ll talk about for a while,” Hardeman said.
He highlighted the impact Osborn had by sharing his story, telling the kids that he shares an experience with many of them and that he came to the NFL.
“He had a full life experience, and that’s what we encourage our children to have. Not only do we focus on academics, we practice character development – the pleasures and the thanks. The little things,” Hardeman said. “Put things back where you got them. It doesn’t hurt to say ‘I’m sorry.’ Treat others the way you would like to be treated.These are values we teach at Boys and Girls Clubs, and they are reflected in the Minnesota Vikings. [organization] and their football team, in KJ”
Thielen Foundation Provides New Fitness Room at Humboldt High School | By Craig Peters
The words “REALIZE YOUR FULL POTENTIAL” set the tone on the back wall of the Humboldt High School Fitness Center in West St. Paul.