By Richard Feero
Rashard Davis was one of the first students I met as I got involved at Abundant Life in the fall of 2007. Rashard was in 7th grade and enrolled in the afterschool tutoring program. His tutor was in his 4th year at UVA and his 4th year tutoring Rashard through Abundant Life. My transition to the neighborhood and working at the ministry was often confusing and difficult my first year, but these two guys were a couple of bright spots helping with my transition. After Rashard left middle school I stayed in touch with him (because at this point we didn’t have STRIVE for high schoolers) through his cousin Chris (aka Young College) and through playing on the same softball and basketball team with his dad.
Rashard is an exceptional athlete and this was showcased his senior year when he played quarterback and led Charlottesville High (CHS) to their first playoff appearance in 10 years. At one point during the season Rashard and Young College (who started at running back) combined for 1000 rushing yards in back-to-back games, each topping 200 yards in both games. Needless to say it was a fun season.
Rashard graduated from CHS that spring with an Advanced Studies Diploma and received a scholarship from James Madison University (JMU) to play football. He just finished his second year playing slot receiver and returner. Over his first two years he compiled nearly 1000 all-purpose yards and 4 touchdowns. He became a starter his second season until he was sidelined with an ankle sprain for much of the second half of the season. More impressively, Rashard’s been able to do all of this and maintain a B average in school. Rashard is majoring in sports management and is planning to be the first person in his family to graduate from college. He is hoping to make a career in the NFL, but if that doesn’t work out he plans to use his major and draw from the experiences gained from playing football his entire life to pursue a career in the sports field. It has been fun to see Rashard transform from a fun and easy going teenager to a responsible and mature young adult. Life is a journey and I ask that if you think about it, pray for Rashard while he continues on his journey at JMU and beyond.