In NFL CHARACTERS UNITE, Graham meets Aston Randall, a 14 year-old boy who is currently in the process of entering the foster care system, after his father was murdered and his mother lost custody due to drug addiction. Aston has just begun a 21-day temporary program that will determine his permanent living situation, and Graham is there to help him through the transition. Although it is not certain that Aston will end up in a group home, the likelihood is high, so Graham sets out to show him a positive first experience at the house.
Graham meets Aston at the Boys Town headquarters and brings him out to one of their group residential homes for boys. There, Graham and Aston get a tour of the house and install a basketball hoop for the boys to use after school. Aston meets some of the boys in the house and joins a game of pick-up basketball with Graham and their new hoop. Graham’s negative experience in a group home pushes him to show Aston that Boys Towns’ homes are much nicer, and being sent here does not have to signify the end of the line for him.
Jimmy Graham,New Orleans Saints
As a child, Jimmy Graham was bounced around between family members, foster homes, and a residential group home for juvenile delinquents, but all he really wanted was someone to talk to, and a place where he could feel both safe and at home. Graham eventually found that person in Becky Vincent, a 25 year-old youth group volunteer, who took him in when no one else would. Now, as Graham’s star rises on the football field, his determination to help kids in similar situations to his own continues to grow as well. Graham experienced firsthand the prejudices that are directed to kids in the foster care system and it is his hope that he can show kids now in the system that they can come out on top, despite the fact that the deck is stacked against them.
While Graham struggled in his youth to find adults that cared, he has come to discover that there are organizations out there to provide a voice for those kids at risk to get lost in the foster care system. One such organization is Boys Town in New Orleans, LA. Boys Town prides itself on the “continuum of care” that they provide to the community. From in-home care for families that are still together, but being monitored by the department of Child and Family services, to the monitoring of foster care homes, to the running of group residential homes, Boys Town puts the interests of the kids first and makes sure they are in the living situation that best suits their needs. Boys Town also strives to teach these kids that they can come out on top and be successful, despite what they might have been told their entire lives.