Luis Castillo has teamed up with Athletes for Education to reach out to kids in the Hispanic community & reward them for improved literacy & citizenship in the classrooms & community service in their local communities. Luis feels he has an incredible opportunity to touch the large local Hispanic community by spending time with children in both San Diego and Mexico. His Dominican background enables him to relate to many of the children in these underprivileged communities as he grew up very similarly to them – he speaks Spanish, was raised by a single mother and was very poor as a child himself. He thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to be a positive role model to youth and just talking with them.
Castillo’s Cargadores hosts an annual Activity Based Life Skills & Team Building camp for middle school students on Saturday & a football camp for High School students in Tijuana on Sunday that Luis personally hosts, attends and invites his teammates to share in the experience. “These kids already play and understand football, but getting the opportunity to spend time and talk with them. That’s really special. I feel privileged to be able to do this.” Because Luis sees all the positive rewards reaped from his camp in Mexico, he also sponsors camps in his hometown in New Jersey and his native Dominican Republic.
Through Brighter Futures through Fitness Program (an AFE Program), Luis and one of his Chargers teammates Kassim Osgood partnered to enable kids to reach a specific target while offering a solution to childhood obesity which is prevalent in youth today. “We can point fingers and just blame cuts in school’s Physical Education budgets. Or we can choose to be part of the solution! Kids are not healthy these days. Brighter Futures through Fitness inspires and educates children about a healthier, more active lifestyle.” He never had a program like this to help him navigate all the messages children are bombarded with about health, fitness and eating right. For that reason, Luis understands and is excited about his involvement in this program.
It can be a juggling act to be a successful NFL player on the field while being an active member in the San Diego and Mexico Hispanic Communities in support of his own programs, as part of the Chargers’ outreach events and to help out teammates with their community work. “It can be tough as we sometimes find ourselves going from event to event, especially during the holidays. But it’s all worth it when you see how you affect a child’s life through a smile or positive interaction – spending time with them means so much! It’s our (professional athletes) responsibility to be in the community. We can make such a positive impact!”
Luis felt the magnitude of how he positively affects the San Diego community at a Fire Relief Distribution event immediately after the devastating fires of Fall 2007 when a woman who had just lost her home came to speak with him. She shared her story – “when she saw me, it brought back memories of how her family used to gather at her home every Sunday to watch the Chargers. She broke down in tears. It was a very touching moment – a really special thing to be able to give her hope again by simply participating in this event!”
To round out his personal touch to Castillo’s Cargadores’ programs, in 2007 Luis also began sponsoring twenty (20) tickets for each Chargers home game which he rewarded to kids that participated in his mentorship program. All in all, Luis is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the football field.
To sponsor Luis’ Castillo’s Cargadores mentorship program, please call (619) 583-4955. Athletes for Education is a San Diego based 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the goal of “Helping Our Youth Help Themselves.”