San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel's commitment to making a positive impact extends far beyond the football field. His support for the Student Program for Academic & Athletic Transitioning (SPAAT) as part of the NFL's My Cause My Cleats campaign not only brought national recognition to the local nonprofit, but also contributed as a great fundraiser through fan donations and cleat auctions.
However, Samuel's philanthropy did not stop there. The wide receiver went above and beyond to directly impact the lives of SPAAT students.
Just before the 49ers Week 14 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, Samuel organized a career exploration day at Shoe Palace headquarters in Morgan Hill, California. The SPAAT students, unaware that the event was orchestrated by the San Francisco star, experienced an unforgettable day filled with inspiration.
The day began with a tour of the Shoe Palace facility where students witnessed the inner workings of the company firsthand. The students met and connected with Shoe Palace employees from various departments, including designers, stylists and marketing professionals. The unique exposure provided valuable insights to the students' potential career paths within the fashion and retail industry.
The students then participated in a career workshop where students were encouraged to express their aspirations. Through written statements, drawings and open discussions, the students shared their dreams and ambitions for life after school. As the group was sharing, Samuel stepped into the room and surprised the young students. With the surprise, Samuel took part in a Q&A session, providing the students an opportunity to learn from his experiences on and off the field.
Then, Samuel went on to present each student with the latest Air Jordan 11 "Gratitude" sneakers. The students also got a shopping session where they could fill backpacks with Jordan-brand outfits. Once dressed up in their newest clothing, the students took part in a one-on-one professional photoshoot, providing students with lasting memories of their special day.
To top it all off, Samuel gifted tickets and field passes for the 49ers Week 14 contest against the Seahawks at Levi's® Stadium. The students had the opportunity to witness the excitement of an NFL game and watch Samuel in action on the field.
"At the end of the day, we're still playing football and kids look up to athletes like us," Samuel said. "I wanted to come out to just give them a little energy, a little word of encouragement and just have a good time.
"It was outstanding. We had a great day."
View postgame photos following the San Francisco 49ers matchup vs. the Seattle Seahawks.