The academy, launched in recent years, is under the vision and direction of Rolle, a former NFL player, FSU star athlete, Rhodes Scholar and philanthropist.
The relationship between Rolle and Florida’s foster youth developed five years ago, establishing a “Rolle” model for children who have been abused. Through his foundation’s annual events, Rolle focuses on building and encouraging the dreams of the youth through education, hard work, and an appreciation for developing a healthy mind and body.
The events traditionally draw other famous athletes and leaders, giving the kids a rare, one-on-one interaction with inspiring people, many of whom are minorities, who speak openly about their journey to personal or professional success, as well as the challenges they endured.
Scheduled July 26 – 29 for the 80 youth ages 12-17 were basketball star Rebecca Lobo, now a mother and ESPN analyst; state Rep. Clovis Watson Jr. who is a proud father of five as well as former law enforcement officer; seven-time Olympic Medalist Amanda Beard and Derrick Stephens, a young man who spent much of his life in the foster care system.
The majority of the academy youth were from Central Florida, Jacksonville, Gainsville and Tampa communities. They were required to apply in order to be accepted to the academy, and were invited based upon their application as well as recommendations by those close to them.