Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has become one of the NFL's leading advocates for community engagement, youth and criminal justice reform, all while leading Philly to its first-ever Super Bowl title.
In recent weeks, Jenkins made headlines for his silent locker room protest of President Donald Trump, who disinvited the Eagles from their White House visit — most of the team planned to skip it, anyway — and strongly influenced the NFL's decision to enforce a strict policy surrounding the national anthem.
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If it were up to Jenkins, he'd rather be focused on the work he's doing in Philadelphia than mixing it up with a president he doesn't believe is listening. Critics of activist pro athletes often ask what exactly they're doing outside the visible gestures of protest seen on television. Jenkins proves it's not just talk and optics.
This week, the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation announced that it will expand its existing partnership with Drexel University's Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center and Lindy Center for Civic Engagement.
Jenkins' foundation, a youth-focused nonprofit that serves underserved communities, ran a pilot with the ExCITe Center in 2016, testing out a Summer STEAM (an acronym for science, technology engineering, arts and mathematics) camp with opportunities for kids to participate in arts-science learning activities. That program merged last summer with the Lindy Institute's Young Dragons literacy and enrichment camp.
This summer, the programs will continue jointly as an extension of the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation's Project REWARDS: Reinforcing Education with Activities, Recreation, & Developmental Supports.
The free six-week summer camp, open to students in fifth through eighth grades, will offer students chances to participate in music technology, visual arts, computer science and athletics modules, with new offerings this year in robotics and sneaker design.
To be eligible for the camp, students must reside in the two-square-mile area federally designated as a Promise Zone in West Philadelphia. The program aims to offer an educational and social outlet for children who live in a neighborhood troubled by persistent poverty.
“The goal of this innovative program is to engage, educate and inspire students, regardless of their background or financial resources, to explore cutting-edge science, technology, engineering, arts, athletics, and mathematics — STEAM — in a creative and exciting format,” said Youngmoo Kim, director of the ExCITe Center.
“The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation is thrilled to be part of this unique collaboration which is having a tremendous impact on Philadelphia youth,” Jenkins added.
A special open house event will be held Monday inside the ExCITe Center at 3401 Market St., Suite 100. Jenkins will be there to meet with Young Dragons and preview some of the STEAM activities that await them this summer.