The Denver Broncos’ nose tackle, Zachariah Kerr, knows how to put himself in the middle of an issue. Being a nose tackle, Kerr understands that he has to do a lot of the dirty work that does not necessarily culminate into TV interviews or sponsorships deals, but that the work he does is invaluable for the Broncos.

Kerr is using that same mentality to be able to make a difference in the communities like the one in which he was raised. Kerr did not grow up in a very safe area. Virginia Beach, Virginia has 475,000 residents, but has been listed with other notable major cities that deal with an excess of crime in low-income areas. So, Kerr is taking action.

Kerr was the keynote speaker for the Youth Empowerment Supports Services — or YESS — which is an organization which helps bring together peer leaders to help other children in impoverished areas. The vision of YESS is, “to crate YESS communities around the country in which Youth empower each other to success by supporting each other and serving their communities.”

For Kerr, being able to help support such an inclusive and empathetic initiative means more than words can describe. During his keynote speech, he was open and transparent as to what he dealt with throughout his childhood to the approximately 300 children in attendance.

The video can be hard to hear, so here are the transcribed 16 seconds that Kerr spoke in the video above.

“That very person that was sitting on my mom’s couch was the same person that shot my father seven times and killed him. So, within four months, I was already a statistic. I was a young black dude without a father and a single mother with other kids for her to raise.”

There are many trials and tribulations that people have to overcome when growing up in areas where crime is more common than financial security. Kerr actively working towards empowering his community is an incredible gesture, but focusing his efforts on the future generations and allowing children to grow, prosper and flourish in an environment where that is usually fanciful is truly remarkable. Kerr is giving kids a chance to take control of their own life in a way that they might not otherwise have gotten. For that, he deserves more credit than he usually receives.


If you are looking to get more involved with the YESS Institute, go to their website here. They are looking for more peer leaders and have many events throughout the year.