Do Right Men 2008: Willie McGinest

HOME BASE: Los Angeles PROFESSION: Cleveland Browns linebacker DOING RIGHT: In 2005, the Long Beach, California, city council proclaimed May 3 Willie McGinest Day. And no wonder—this is a brother who enjoys giving back to his community. Every year, in honor of his day, McGinest visits, signs autographs, and plays games with children at Ability First, a California-based program geared toward helping youngsters and adults with disabilities. His humanitarian efforts don’t stop there. He then goes to his alma mater, the Long Beach Poly Tech High School, where he awards three college scholarships totaling $8,000. Next up, a trip to the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom School in Long Beach, where McGinest has been a long-standing supporter, providing start-up funds for the program and visiting the school every year. If that’s not enough, he invites the kids from the same Boys and Girls Club that nurtured him as a child in Long Beach to GameWorks, an unparalleled entertainment zone, where they can enjoy food, bowling and game play. “My community is important to me,” McGinest says. “I always try to remember my foundation and my roots.”
ESSENCE.COM Aug, 28, 2008