Joining the ranks of the NFL's elite is a lofty goal for anyone to shoot for, but five-time All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis is a perfect example that, no matter what hand you're dealt in life, making your dream come true is indeed possible—if you trust in the power within.
In fact, the San Francisco 49ers superstar and Duracell, the Trusted Battery Power of the NFL, have teamed up to help young people around the country realize the power they have to capture even the biggest of dreams.
Together, Willis and Duracell have launched a campaign across the nation called "Trust Your Power," designed to do just that.
"Yeah, what we’re doing right now is you can go to Duracell’s Facebook, or tweet #TrustYourPower (on Twitter), and each time someone does that a dollar donation goes toward a youth sports scholarship fund to help kids get one step closer to their dreams."
Here's a link to Duracell's Facebook page, where consumers can share their own stories in which they've "trusted their power." For every story, Duracell will donate $1 to providing young athletes with scholarships to ProCamps, an organization that helps pro athletes run sports camps for young players between 7-14 years old.
Willis and his three siblings were raised in a poverty-stricken neighborhood by a single father who struggled with alcohol and drug addictions, and Willis began working at the age of 10 just to help support his family.
Given his background, Willis truly understands the impact even the smallest bit of assistance can have on our youth.
"I think that’s big man, I think that I’m a testimony to that, just that, you know, whether it’s a dollar or whether it’s five, you know, something like that can help a kid and just really obtain something that he wouldn’t have the financial means to do. And I think that’s where someone like Duracell, it’s just so big that they’re helping out."
The video above encapsulates the struggles Willis experienced as a youth and how he was able to overcome adversity by believing in the power inside him to get where he wanted to go.
Throughout the season, Willis and a group of NFL players will be going into local markets and surprising local high schools with motivational speeches and donations such as school supplies and practice/training equipment for sports. The goal is to power students both on the field and in the classroom.
Willis was so impressively dedicated to his studies as a youth, he often brought a flashlight with him to away games so he could finish homework on the bus ride home.
In addition to the "Trust Your Power" program, Willis managed to find some free time away from 49ers headquarters this summer in order to help out the community in a number of ways.
In June, he hosted the Duracell Patrick Willis Football ProCamp, and even spent a day going around San Francisco and assisting citizens with some of their everyday chores—including, but not limited to, dog walking and hauling groceries.
"Yeah, our first campaign we were just going through San Francisco and were just doing some things for people that needed different things done and what not."
Anyone who posted to Twitter using the hashtag #PatrickPower was in the running to have some of his or her most basic tasks completed by the All-Pro linebacker.
He even helped serve food at the San Francisco Fire Department.
"They did man, they did," Willis replied after asking him if they enjoyed his cooking. "I didn’t really do the cooking, I just kind of watched over it and stirred it a little bit. Yeah, but I can cook though, so, I can cook pretty good man. I actually take pride in that, cooking and grilling."
Naturally, I had to find out his favorite dish to make, if only on the assumption that Willis packs as much passion into the kitchen as he does into punishing opponents on the gridiron.
"Favorite dish to make? Probably, I love lemon pepper chicken, but I use like, the lemon pepper seasoning, I use my own lemon and lime and salt and pepper and all that stuff. And I grill it, so it’ll actually be like the real deal, you know."
With the NFL season now in full swing, there wasn't much time to talk football. He did mention the importance of the 49ers' convincing 27-19 win over the Lions on Sunday Night Football.
"Oh yeah, it was big for us you know, we really, yeah, we really needed that victory."
Willis delivered one of his trademark crushing blows to perhaps the most fearsome wide receiver in the NFL, Calvin Johnson, early in the second quarter, giving "Megatron" a little taste of that #PatrickPower he possesses.
Much like his lemon pepper chicken, Willis is the real deal—both on and off the field.
*All quotes from this article were obtained first-hand. A very special thanks to Chris Hayes and Aaron Berger of Citizen Paine for coordinating the interview.
Brandon is a Featured Columnist for the San Francisco 49ers at B/R, and you can follow him via Twitter for updates about the team and everything else football.