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Former Jaguar forms nonprofit to help lift at-risk Black boys

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Lonnie Marts Jr. and wife Gionne Taylor Marts (third and fourth from left) are flanked by their five children: Lonnie III (far left), Taylor, Gilon, Gavin and Moriah. Former Jaguar Marts has formed a nonprofit to support at-risk black boys.

When single mom Janet Marie Marts was elevating her son Lonnie within the low-income Calliope Tasks in New Orleans within the Nineteen Seventies and ’80s, she made a promise to herself and to him.

She would do the whole lot in her energy to maintain him from falling prey to medicine or crime, temptations that would ship him down the trail to no return. 

With Lonnie’s grandmothers serving to take care of him, Marts labored lengthy hours to put herself via college and change into a licensed sensible nurse so she might purchase them a home within the suburbs.

Marts stored her promise and now her profitable son — former Jaguar Lonnie Marts Jr. — is paying it ahead.

At a 1999 game, Carolina players stand in disbelief after Jaguars linebacker Lonnie Marts Jr. (right) knocked away a pass on a two-point conversion attempt by the Panthers to preserve a Jaguars 22-20 victory.

Marts Jr., now 52, is constructing a brand new nonprofit in Jacksonville. Level The Playing Field Leadership Academy will, free of charge, present native Black boys the type of stable footing his mom and subsequent mentors alongside the best way supplied for him.

Boys ages 10 to 13, many dwelling with single dad and mom in poor neighborhoods like Marts did, will get mentors, tutorial and emotional help, cultural enrichment, character improvement and neighborhood engagement via age 21. In four-hour Saturday periods and subject journeys and actions through the week, the academy will open the boys’ minds to the probabilities.

The primary class of 15 boys will start in June 2021.

The aim for these boys would be the similar one Janet Marts had for her son.

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