New York Jets Defensive End Muhammad Wilkerson knows that without a doubt, education is a fundamental key to success. That’s why Gang Green’s defensive stalwart developed the T.E.A.M. 96 Foundation, which focuses not only on education, but also togetherness, achievement, and motivation to benefit the youth.
Never forgetting his roots, the former Linden High School football standout provides college-bound high school seniors from his hometown of Linden, NJ — along with its three neighboring cities, Rahway, Roselle, and Elizabeth — a wide range of support through assistance and encouragement to develop into well-rounded individuals who will eventually return to serve the communities they live in.
Recently, the dynamic 2016 Pro Bowl-selectee hosted his signature T.E.A.M. 96 Foundation event — the fourth annual ‘Dining for Diplomas’ fundraiser and silent auction, at New York City’s Avra Madison restaurant.
For one night only, “Mo” and a few of his teammates traded in their cleats in exchange for aprons, and served as waitstaff for fans and sponsors at the ticketed dinner. Those in attendance were delighted as a few of their on-field heroes distributed four-course meals to their tables all in the spirit of fun and charity.
Here’s what the former Temple University star had to say about the value of education and why he gives back to his community:
Muhammad flicked it up and shared a few laughs with his supporters.
A few fans also got their Jets gear signed by Mo.
Jets star Receiver Brandon Marshall was in the house…
…and was all smiles and eager to support his teammate.
Muhammad’s lovely mother Janice Wilkerson, who helps run the foundation, spoke on how passionate he is about the work he does in his community, and how fun it is seeing the players outside of the football field. Press play for the full video:
Defensive Tackle Steve McLendon provided fans with excellent customer service.
Defensive Tackle Deon Simon was razor-sharp focused, just like he is on the football field.
Free Safety Marcus Gilchrist gave the event two thumbs up.
Defensive Tackle Leonard Williams was as cool as a cucumber serving the fans.
Receiver Robby Anderson enjoyed the night just as much as the crowd.
ESPN’s Anita Marks hosted the evening and shared the silent auction co-hosting duties with Brandon Marshall.
If you ever wondered what Brandon Marshall sounds like in the locker room, check out this rousing speech he delivered to remind people why they were there — to give back to communities and people in need:
And that’s the magic of Brandon Marshall!
In the end, the night was a huge success. Muhammad and the T.E.A.M. 96 Foundation sacked the previous year’s proceeds and raised more than $30,000 in just a few short hours.
You can learn more about T.E.A.M. 96 and their initiatives by clicking here.
Photos & Videos: The Sportstyle