For the past year and a half, Florida State tight end Mavin Saunders has been volunteering at Riley Elementary School in Tallahassee, mentoring two young students. Saunders said that this started as extra credit for a class, however following that semester, has continued to donate his time (four hours a week to be specific).
As a result, he received a certificate of commendation by Riley Elementary School and was named recipient of the Outstanding Adult Volunteer Award.
“I was pretty shocked. I was mentoring the kid obviously and (School Administrator Mr. Lang) kept asking for my information and I told him my information. I didn’t know what it was for. So he called me the other day before the ceremony and told me he was presenting it to me. I was honored by it.”
The most surprising detail is that Saunders volunteered unbeknown to any of his teammates or coaches. The redshirt junior from Bimini, Bahamas was trying to keep the volunteering to himself, as his intention was never for publicity.
“I kept (the award) away from everyone, but people figured it out...I’m not doing it for any show or anything like that. My goal is just to reach out to the kids.”
During his talk with the media following the reception of the award, Saunders went in detail about the two students he personally mentored. He doesn’t just aid with school work, but also has invested time in learning about and helping those student’s life outside the classroom.
“Those kids don’t have much going for them. They don’t have mentors to help them, to push them, to challenge them to reach their potential. I’m just trying to help out, trying to touch a few guys and do the right thing.”
Saunders credits his two older brothers for teaching him the ropes growing up, but known many of these students may not. He wanted to impact those kids as much as his brothers impacted him growing up.
“I realize I have a platform of being a football player here, so I realized I can reach out to a lot of kids here because they love football. Everyone in the city knows who you are. So by me going over there and talking to them about things other than football, it’s really shocked them and helped a lot of them... I stay away from (talking about football). I really use those two hours to try to express to them the importance of making the right choices and respecting your elders and doing the right thing. It’s been a really good year.”
Through two seasons at Florida State, Saunders has amassed 234 receiving yards on 16 receptions in 11 total games played.