Athlete Transition Specialist Amber C. Edwards outlines where to access NFL development programs and details eligibility requirements. The information provided will assist players in setting goals for retirement and initial preparation for the 2021 NFL Lockout.
AMAZING. LIFE-CHANGING. EMPOWERING. FUN
Just some of the words our attendees used to describe the inaugural WAGcademy Conference.
We're recapping the highlights right here. At WAGcademy 2018, more than 50 WAGS from football, basketball, boxing, baseball, and hockey gathered in downtown Los Angeles to UNITE AND IGNITE! We felt the love. These photos will give you the feels too. Check it out.
For a detailed recap, read this WAGcademy review by moderator and committee member, Asia Saffold.
And watch this vlog by MAKING A DIFFERENCE panelist Brittany Ross.
Date: July 21, 2018
Location: Hudson Loft, Los Angeles
Photography: Jennifer Johnson (IG: @jenjphoto)
The FIRST EVER conference for wives and significant others of professional athletes across various sports was a successful event hosted by WAGS Redefined and presented by Bank of America. More than 50 WAGS gathered to unite and ignite!
Check out the photos below (CLICK ON A PHOTO TO ENLARGE)!
The WAGS Redefined team thanks our 2018 WAGcademy Conference community partner, the LA Dream Center, for working with us to give back to the Los Angeles community. A portion of WAGcademy ticket sales (10%) was donated to the nonprofit organization fighting poverty, addiction, and abuse. On Friday, July 20, 2018, WAGS Redefined members, WAGcademy attendees and WAGcademy sponsors gathered at The LA Dream Center in downtown Los Angeles to pack 2,500 backpacks with necessary school supplies for the upcoming school year for youth in need. The day was full of good vibes: LA sunshine, uplifting music, and a group of people there to serve and spread love! The backpacks were distributed by members of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization on August 4th. Thank you to everyone who made it a success!
Date: July 20, 2018
Location: Los Angeles Dream Center
Host: WAGS REDEFINED
Photography: Jennifer Johnson (IG: @jenjphoto)
CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE.
For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
On a random Monday night, right in the middle of Manhattan, Chelsea to be exact, I heard the most profound statement that echoed in a room filled with NFL football players, investors, lawyers, Wall Street bankers, artists, comedians, actors, reporters, photographers, beauty pageant queens, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and so many more:
“Every dollar raised on tonight will go directly to the kids I support through my foundation, and not one penny will be used to pay my staff’s salary…I pay that out of my own pocket” proclaimed Rashad Jennings #23, the starting running back for the New York Giants. Those words were truly unforgettable, and really took me by surprise!
That night was the 2nd annual Giant Night of Comedy, and it was remarkable at how well this event turned out. Don’t get me wrong, I have attended some very outstanding charity events and even worked with some of the most successful non-profit organizations. But there was something noticeably different about this one…Rashad’s heart bled out loud! And everyone in attendance could visibly see it! If you too have a foundation, a charity, a non-profit, or an organization that God has placed in your heart, I have some revelational insight I received from this event, that I must share with you, in hopes of helping you unlock all of your hidden treasures!
- The Capacity of your Heart- When you have a very big heart, people can’t help but notice it and gravitate towards it! At Rashad’s event, the room was filled with a diverse group of people from all walks of life representing different demographics! This lets me know that in order to attract the level of support you need, to support your vision… the capacity of your heart to serve, must be just as great as your desireto see the vision fulfilled. When God sees how pure your heart is toward your purpose, He will give you favor with Himself and favor with man. So much so, that people you don’t even know will unexpectedly come out of nowhere offering to help you! But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve. Jeremiah 17:10
- A Heart of Passion- When working towards fulfilling a need that is much bigger than your own, passion MUST rule over profit. There is just simply no other way! In the process of waiting to see the full manifestation of your efforts, the enemy will always come to kill, steal, and destroy your passion with impatience, greed, confusion, fear, and doubt! Therefore, you must protect your passion to serve, by hiding it deep within your heart. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
- A Wise Heart- Let’s be honest, starting a charity is no problem, but maintaining it is no easy task. Not only do you need the heart of Christ, but you really need the mind of Christ too! A wise mind makes a wise heart. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 NKJV Most people start off really strong, but never last to see all the pieces of the puzzle become a masterpiece. There is a significant level of strength and patient endurance you must have to keep your vision going. And this can truly be accomplished if you have a wise heart. My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! Proverbs 23:15 NLT
So let me ask you: How big is your heart? Whoever you are aiming to serve, whether it is battered women, the youth, the homeless, underprivileged communities, or people suffering from hard to cure infirmities, please know that you are blessed to be a blessing, and I am praying fervently for you. I pray that you never experience weariness and exhaustion during the hard, dry seasons. I pray that every ounce of virtue that has been poured out of your heart be returned back unto you in increasing measures. I pray that you will find your provisions and all the hidden treasures to help you pursue your purpose. And I pray a special Luke 6:38 blessing over your life, that your gift will return to you in full- pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. Amen! Your treasures are surely waiting on you...go find them!!
By: Jacqui Butler
Keep these verses in a safe place to reference during training camp, preseason and beyond!
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer" -Romans 12:12
This is my favorite verse for this season of our lives because it covers all the bases! Maintaining a positive outlook for our men is imperative. Our patience when the conversations are short or when frustration sets in is huge. Above all -Prayer, Prayer, Prayer! -is needed, faithfully covering their bodies, minds and spirits.
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." -1 Peter 4:10
As a busy wife and mom, sometimes it feels like I serve others all day long! But this verse reminds me to REALLY serve them; it pushes me to make sure I’m remembering to personally demonstrate things like faith and forgiveness every day. Whether you have children or don’t, whatever you’re doing, whatever your talents are, God can use it to encourage someone, inspire them or at the very least spark curiosity about God’s hand on their lives!
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." -Proverbs 14:1
This is a reminder that you have such POWER!! There is power in your actions, attitudes, and your words. Make sure you are building up your men, building up your children, and don’t forget to build up yourself!
Despite what you see on TV and on the blogs, most of the women in the NFL are educated, dedicated and driven. They run their husband’s foundations, their own businesses and they hold down their families like I’ve never seen before. They aren’t all stay at home moms either. There are some women that work full time and others (like myself) who chose not to move with their men and instead make the decision to continue their education. When my now husband first began his NFL journey, we were uncertain of his longevity and his future. He went undrafted and after a season ending injury during his senior year- it wasn’t until 8 months after the draft that he got the call to play again. At the time, it didn't feel like it was in my best interest to move with him so I stayed in Texas.
Staying in Texas was a hard decision- a decision that I made for three straight seasons. During those three seasons; I worked full time, had a baby, earned a Masters degree and got married. And after every major life change, I still made the decision to stay (where I was). There were people who called me selfish and said that I would “miss out on being an NFL wife” and that “men of this caliber want their women to stay home.” They speculated about his fidelity and the strength of our relationship and because of this, I often felt anxious and uncertain.
It was never easy but, we trusted each other and knew ourselves. We both had dreams and goals before we met one other and respected the other enough to pursue those goals together and apart. I often wanted to miss those early morning flights home after a late night playoff game—but in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t.
I’ve met many women around the league who work full time, went to graduate school, law school and even medical school. These women are teachers, reporters and photographers. Many do not make those moves across the country for 1-year deals or uncertain contracts. Some live in their home towns until after training camp to be sure their man is on the final roster. But, in the end we are all sacrificing something to make sure our families are "set" for the future and that is whether you are a stay at home mom or a career women. There is not one "cookie cutter" way to be a supportive wife and mother and because of THAT, we should never feel guilty.
Entry written by Super Bowl Contest winner: Angela Porras
Going to the Super Bowl has always been #1 on my bucket list, and is considered a once in a lifetime opportunity for most people. When I found out I had won the contest run by NFL WAGS, I was beside myself. Not only was I ticking this dream off the list, but my favorite team of all time was actually playing! I don't know what the chances of this happening is, but it happened, and there were a lot of things to organize leading up to it. It was a whirlwind trip, but the best experience of my life to date. I just wanted to give a special thank you to LeShonda Martin and WAGS Redefined for gifting me with this amazing experience (two tickets to the Super Bowl)! I don't know if I would have ever had the chance to do something as special as this, and it meant everything to myself and my guest, CJ. We are forever grateful.
Words couldn't describe my experience, but I hope the pictures will help.
I was still in Australia when I was informed of my win, and wasn't set to come home for a few weeks. I quickly rearranged my flights from L.A. to San Francisco and packed my bags to leave a few days later!
Trying to book a hotel a week before the Super Bowl would have been a nightmare if not for a dear friend residing in SF. Not a bad view! The luck continues...
Once settled in, I had to explore the city. It was still very surreal at this point. San Francisco had really put a lot of effort into transforming the city for the big event!
It's not every day you get to wander the streets and cross paths with NFL Legend Marshall Faulk! Throughout the week, many NFL players engaged positively with fans, and if you were lucky enough some of them even became your Lyft driver!
There were parties everywhere, even on Fisherman's Wharf! Some more exclusive than others, like this Denver Broncos fan party. My invitation was lost in the mail, but that didn't stop me from crashing it!
It wouldn't be a dream vacation without a little shopping. Not sure these are for me but just think: Someone in the world owns these shoes.
The night before the big game, Thomas Davis found out I played women's football. He was so impressed he called up David Gettleman and they put me on the roster. I didn't even have to try out. What are the chances? Not sure how Cam is gonna feel when he finds out he has to change his number.
As you can see, I fit in just fine!
Finally! IT IS GAME DAY. I've never been more excited to be smashed among the masses as we waited to get in!
The Super Bowl was a star studded event! Elvis even made an appearance, and he roots for the Panthers!!!
Sometimes you just need a larger than life LUUUUUUUUKE.
Here is the most surreal moment of the entire trip. I don't know how to explain the feeling I had taking this photo, seeing this field, getting ready to cheer on the Panthers. Soon after this photo was taken, Lady Gaga took the stage and gave a phenomenal performance of our National Anthem. It was truly an amazing experience.
The Panthers weren't doing so well going into the half, but in all honesty, it was REALLY hard to care once Beyonce hit the stage! All of the performers were incredible, but who can top Queen Bey?!
CJ and I were finally reunited on American soil on game day and had an incredible experience together, and I could not have won this competition without her. She had a crazier schedule than I did, and had no plans to travel to the U.S. until we won this competition. The day after the Super Bowl she flew back to Australia to participate in a football camp to try out for the Australian team!
The outcome of the game wasn't what I had hoped for but I still left that stadium feeling like a winner. A lot of people apologized to me when I returned home, which was confusing. You win some, you lose some and it's your attitude that determines where to go from here. If I had known my team would lose, I wouldn't change a thing.
“A voice for NFL wives, fiancees and girlfriends while connecting, inspiring, and empowering our audience. We desire to influence our community by changing the conversation.” It’s refreshing to come across a mission statement like this in a world where people seem to connect more readily over superficial things and values. LeShonda Martin created WAGS Redefined with the intent for it to be everything that her mission encompasses. I feel like it’s only appropriate for my first blog post to thank LeShonda for creating a faith-based community for women to connect and also to share a real life example of a connection I made as a result of her efforts. I recently met @CieraLiguori through @NFLWags when we realized we were both in the LA area. We met for coffee in Santa Monica the other day and spent three hours chatting all things “real.” Ciera is just beginning the journey through her 20’s while this gal over here is savoring the last year of it :-) It got me thinking about this past decade of my life and some of the things I have learned…and am still continuing to learn.
- I learned the phrase “Train your Eyes” recently…learn to look at challenges from a different perspective. Be grateful for the things that DON’T go your way…these are the moments you really grow and really get to know yourself.
- Time is valuable. Don’t waste it on trivial things. Be more selfish with your time and give it to those that truly matter.
- If you hate your job you need to find a new one. A career can take over your soul especially when you get comfortable with a paycheck. Stop and make sure what you’re doing aligns with your God-given gifts & abilities.
- You’ll be OK…whatever you're going through, no matter how hard it is, in time you will be OK.
- Learn to love your body…flaws and all. Eliminate the word diet from your vocabulary. Everything in moderation and drink more water.
- Learn the art of taking power naps.
- Change is scary and uncomfortable. Just know that the first step is the hardest.
- Don’t gossip.
- Be patient with your parents…they aren’t getting any younger.
- Travel every opportunity you get! And do things that scare you. Mine included riding in a helicopter, and zip lining.
- Volunteer…anything that makes you think outside of yourself.
- Read more!!! From blogs to books, make this part of your daily routine. (Currently reading: Purpose Driven Life)
- There’s strength in vulnerability…there’s also a fine line between vulnerable and victim.
- Spend time alone everyday.
- BE KIND.
Members of the Professional Football Wives Association (PFWA) recently assisted the Chicago Dream Center shelter for homeless women and children with a day of service in Chicago, IL. The ladies were given a tour of the facility and asked to keep the location private. Tenisha Patterson-Brown, LeShonda Martin, Leslie Randle, and Martrice Caldwell prepared and served meals, handed out toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste, read books to the children, and offered words of encouragement.
Tenisha Patterson-Brown, wife of seven-year veteran Everette Brown, traveled from Charlotte for the day but felt she received more than she gave: “We had an amazing and blessed time. It was truly an experience that we won’t forget. They were so grateful and appreciative.” Executive Director of Chicago Dream Center, Kaitrin Valencia, expressed gratitude over the ladies volunteering their time to connect with the families on a deeper level: “Many of these kids have never been read to. It may not seem like a lot but it means so much.”
The Chicago Dream Center is a 501 (c)(3) that offers faith-based programs and services to assist low income, homeless, trafficking survivors and under-served individuals and families move toward self sufficiency. They are a partner of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago and strive to meet the practical needs of people while sharing with them faith, hope, and love (chicagodreamcenter.org).
LeShonda Martin, wife of veteran safety Sherrod Martin, traveled from Atlanta for the weekend to participate with PFWA Chicago members:
It’s so important to reach out and touch those who have fallen on hard times. Some of the women were victims of domestic violence which is a cause near to my heart. We made sure to let the women and children know that we were no different from them and that they could be anything they wanted to be. PFWA is a faith-based organization and we love what the Chicago Dream Center is doing for their community, offering not only financial help and support but ministering to and loving on people as well.
Next January, PFWA has plans to tour the Chicago Dream Center’s safe house, the facility where victims of human trafficking are housed after being rescued. To take action and get involved with the various ministries of the Chicago Dream Center, visit chicagodreamcenter.org.
Get Social with PFWA:
Instagram - @profootballwives
Twitter - @profootballwo
Facebook – facebook.com/pfwa15
Public perception of NFL couples is that they are weak unions detached from hardships within their communities. In reality, countless couples in the NFL are intelligent, inspiring and invested in philanthropy. For my fiancé Coty Sensabaugh -- defensive back for the Tennessee Titans -- and I, the NFL is a conduit to positively reach and impact the masses.
Serving on Our Special Day
We chose to use our wedding day as a platform to spread love in a unique way.
In lieu of traditional wedding gifts, we are asking our friends and family to help us raise awareness, funds, and shoes for the #SensabaughMissionMoon. The event will take place June 23rd-June 27th, 2016, in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
We are partnering with the global non-profit organization Soles4Souls to provide shoes to adults and children in orphanages and other rural areas throughout the country. Since 2006, Soles4souls has collected and distributed over 26 million pairs of new shoes in every state in the U.S. and in 127 countries around the world.
More than a third of the Dominican Republic population lives on less than $1.25 a day and over 20 percent of the country lives in extreme poverty.
We Are Not Alone
Coty and I understand that we have the opportunity to positively impact hundreds of lives through the NFL platform. Our constant prayer is to use what we have been blessed with to fortify our community, and we model ourselves after our peers who are doing the same.
Many NFL couples are not only actively serving their respective communities, it is the women in these relationships that are the driving force behind the philanthropic efforts of their spouses.
Take a look at NFL couple Fernando and Tiesha Velasco, both of whom are avid forces within their communities using their Right Choices Foundation to connect middle and high school athletes with opportunities to enhance their character development through athletics.
Powerhouse NFL couple Brandon and Michi Marshall are another example. They use the NFL platform to fight the negative stigmas associated with mental illness. These two raise awareness and connect those who are suffering with the proper resources.
There are countless others on the list of influential NFL couples and the positive impact they have is powerful. What's unfortunate is that these benevolent efforts are often ignored by the media in lieu of negative stories of infidelity and domestic violence.
Let's Start A New Legacy
Instead of helping spread the word of negativity within the NFL, let's make a point to share the good things couples are doing. Many are forming partnerships with organizations like the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Georgetown Lombari Comprehensive Cancer Center to make a positive impact in the community.
So the next time you encounter an NFL couple giving back in a positive manner, encourage and uplift their efforts. The impact we possess within our communities as NFL couples to do great work, far exceeds the role that our significant others play on Sunday.
When the Tennessee Titans drafted my fiancé Coty Sensabaugh in 2012, I quickly moved from Clemson, South Carolina and relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. Needless to say, moving to a city with no friends, no family and no support system was very difficult. Not to mention the stress of the job search and desire to build my career while discovering my own identity. I was a young, ambitious college graduate, who during interviews with recruiters and potential employers, hid my reasons for relocating to Nashville because of the backlash and perplexed notions they expressed as to why I, a spouse of an NFL player, wanted to work.
I was depressed. However, my resilient spirit and creative nature lead me to doing the thing I loved the most: volunteering. Throughout my high school and college careers, I was always active within my community planning and hosting philanthropic events. Ironically, one of my childhood wishes was “Lord allow me to help those in need,” and almost 20 years later God has truly answered my prayer.
At first, I hid behind my fiancé's identity and organized his charity events. However, last year during the holiday season as I approached my monumental 25th birthday, I wanted to celebrate in a unique and meaningful way, so I launched the “Happy Birthday Dominique” community service project, #25Wishesfor25Years. This was my method of uplifting the many non-profit organizations and outreach agencies empowering my community. This project granted me the opportunity to show extreme gratitude for my life through community service.
My fiancé used his influence and financial resources to ensure the success of this initiative. For 25 consecutive days leading up to my 25th birthday, we hosted a series of events designed to positively impact individuals with a broad spectrum of needs. We fed over 250 impoverished families a Thanksgiving meal, we hosted a series of holiday hope dinners for the Nashville homeless community, we provided gifts for women who were victims of human trafficking, and we hosted a winter wonderland carnival for a local children’s hospital. After each event, we were overwhelmed with humility and thankfulness that God had blessed us with such an awesome opportunity to serve.
Needless to say, I am continuing the Happy Birthday Dominique community service project because this initiative reconnected me with my purpose in life. It also adds excitement to aging because each year that I grow older, Coty and I are able to increase the number of organizations and individuals we positively impact in our community.
This holiday season, I encourage you to find someone or something to give back to. Contact your church, a local or national non-profit, a community outreach agency and find opportunities to serve those in need. Providing your time, monetary resources, or emotional support to these who need you will provide unspeakable joy.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and members of the team's Women's Association continued the work of an amazing woman, the late Myra Kraft, last Thursday, October 29, at The Women's Lunch Place. Kristen LaFell, Chantel Mayo, Linda Holliday, and other Patriots wives and girlfriends joined Mr. Kraft in preparing and serving lunch for the women at the shelter, a place that provides food and other important services to the homeless or poor in the community. It is a spot that was near and dear to Mrs. Kraft, who was still serving lunch there in October of 2010, despite being diagnosed with ovarian cancer earlier in the year.
"I am a firm believer that if you are given something, it is your responsibility to give back,” Mrs. Kraft once said to her alma mater, Brandeis University.
She lived her life according to that decree, not only giving financially to a number of causes — Jewish organizations worldwide, medical causes, and youth groups — but volunteering her time. The impact she made on her immediate family, the Boston community, and countless other areas is a model example of the way women in the NFL can rise to influence.
While Mrs. Kraft committed to charity well before her husband bought the Patriots in 1994, the way she used all of the platforms she was given throughout her life is a wonderful example of how the women of today's NFL players, coaches, and executives can do the same.
Bianca Wilfork, wife of 12-year veteran Vince Wilfork, participated in the annual trips to The Women's Lunch Place until her husband signed with the Houston Texans this past offseason.
"The women are not eating steak and they're not eating lobster," Bianca said of The Women's Lunch Place. ”The volunteers make gourmet-tasting meals with little resources. With just the money they get from donations and food from the food bank, they're able to create well-rounded, healthy and delicious meals. I like to be part of that."
While events like this may get lost amidst week-to-week football news, NFL women across the country are making a difference. The impact of trips to shelters, schools, and other charities resonates throughout individual communities, held in place by strong women and legacies like those of the late Mrs. Kraft.
The Women's Lunch Place executive director, Elizabeth Keeley, appreciates the donations from Mr. Kraft and the Patriots, but their willingness to spend time with the women who eat there means even more.
"Yes, they love the goodie bags and they appreciate the thought and the generosity but it's really about having people that they read about and see on television come here to their community, come here and sit down and do crafts with them or work in the kitchen,” she told Patriots.com. "Those that have phones are tweeting and texting and saying, ‘Guess who's here in my shelter, in my community!'”
When Matthew Stafford and then-girlfriend Kelly announced their engagement in 2014 before marrying earlier this year, the Detroit Lions community celebrated along with them. The pair has been a mainstay since Stafford was drafted in 2009, establishing a presence within the organization and surrounding community.
After years of supporting various charities and giving back to individuals both publicly and privately, the couple took it to the next step Tuesday, October 19, dedicating a brand new professional turf football field as part of a $1 million donation over the next 10 years. The S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center at Lipke Park is a collaboration with Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom and it is far more than money. It is a promise to engage with kids and continue coming back.
“As much fun as its going to be fun to come out here, get Megatron to come out here and throw some footballs,” Stafford told MLive, "I’m equally as excited for what's going on inside this building and to give the opportunity to help these kids and help them learn."
It's a promise that Detroit needs. While there are hidden gems throughout the city, there are plenty of areas that need more than just a fresh coat of paint. Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press framed it perfectly with dialogue between him and two Detroiters about the Staffords donation.
"This is one of the worst areas in Detroit," said 28-year-old Charles Wilson to Seidel. "I'm gonna be real. I don't understand why there is a $1-million field and renovation and look right here."
"He took one look at this amazing, beautiful, NFL-quality artificial turf field and turned his head and stared at an abandoned, boarded-up house," wrote Seidel. "The juxtaposition was jarring."
Wilson continued: "Listen, it's great that Matthew Stafford gave $1 million. I just don't understand why they built it on Seven Mile and Van Dyke. People get killed around here every day. This is not the best neighborhood."
It's a double-edged sword. For Detroit to make a real turnaround, it has to inject positivity into the worst areas of the city, but doing that puts the investment at risk. Why would the Staffords put their time and money into such a dangerous area of the city?
Album said it best at the induction: "That's how you stabilize a neighborhood. That's how you get a neighborhood to believe that there is a reason to keep your neighborhood nice, because there is something nice worth protecting."
For any football family, it is clear to see that Matthew and Kelly's outreach is genuine at its core. For a couple transplanted to Detroit — Matthew is from Texas while Kelly grew up in Georgia — this kind of commitment shows where their hearts are at.
Embracing a city like Detroit when your roots lie elsewhere is a true act of kindness they are hoping makes a difference.