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Bohanon Foundation urges teens to ‘man up’

January 22, 2020
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

While Tommy Bohanon's football career took a pause this year, the foundation he founded continues to play hard.

On Friday, the Tommy Bohanon Foundation held its second "Man Up" seminar at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in Fort Myers on Friday.

One hundred and fifty male athletes from Dunbar, Fort Myers, North Fort Myers, and South Fort Myers high schools, as well as a dozen professional male leaders from across Southwest Florida to promote young men to have a brighter future.

Article Photos

Tommy Bohanon speaks to a group of students at the Tommy Bohanon Foundation “Man Up” Seminar at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in Fort Myers on Friday.

CHUCK BALLARO

The mentors taught the teens that you need to sweat the small stuff, such as learning to tie a tie and making eye contact while giving a firm handshake.

They also taught crucial life skills such as financial literary, interview prep, where to find scholarships and what it takes to be a successful young man in society, regardless of their current circumstances.

"We're trying to take these boys and teach them some things about how to conduct themselves in interviews. A little bit of everything to try to help these kids. Role models for these kids are very needed and we're trying to be those people," Bohanon said.

Bohanon said the seminar is something that is needed, since many of these lessons are not taught in school and have been lacking. He said this is an area where his foundation can step in.

"Learning how to balance a checkbook is something that's needed and hopefully, we can step in and help out,' Bohanon said. "People need to think about how they're going to pay for college and they need to think about trade schools. Doing a trade isn't a bad thing and you can make a great income."

The teens got a playbook where they got tips on acing the interview, behaviors and impacts, getting a scholarship, tying a tie, your brand and marketing yourself. The sessions included the do's and don'ts of social media, and budgeting, which served as the most important part of the seminar.

Among the mentors was Daniel Vogelbach, first baseman for the Seattle Mariners, who lived in North Fort Myers and starred at Bishop Verot High School and who is a close friend of Bohanon.

"I've known Tommy since Little League and followed his career. He reached out to me and asked if I wanted to get involved," Vogelbach said. "I love this community. Fort Myers is very special and it has so much talent, anything I can do to give back and make their lives easier and teach them things I made mistakes with so they don't make the same mistakes."

Cullen O'Brien, coach at North Fort Myers High School, said this is something these kids should learn earlier in their lives.

"When you talk about the things the kids learn when they leave high school so they can be ready to enter society, it's absolutely an asset," O'Brien said. "I wish more schools would participate in this."

Paxton Walker, of North, said he learned a lot from the mentors.

"I learned a lot of mannerisms and different ways to speak to different people and treating them with respect," Walker said. "Trying to go up through the ranks. And I earned to tie a tie. I didn't know how to do that."

Xavion Battle, of Dunbar High School, said he also learned to tie a tie and the way to ace the interview.

"I learned to always be yourself. To go into an interview as a classy person. They should have an elective at school that teaches young men to grow up. I learned things that will help me 20 years from now," Battle said.

Bohanon, who starred at North and Wake Forest and played five seasons in the NFL, was released by the Green Bay Packers this summer and decided not to accept an offer to play in the XFL.

While he hasn't retired, he realizes it could be time to enter the next phase of his life. Bohanon is working as a financial representative at Lawrence Financial Group.

 
 

 

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