SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield native and now Miami Dolphins defensive end, Christian Wilkins, hosted a football clinic at central high school today.
“When I was a kid this is something I always would’ve wanted. I’m here just to give back to the community, give back to the kids. This is something I’ve always wanted to do and imagined doing since I was a kid. Just being able to come back to my community after doing successful things in my life and career and being able to give back,” Wilkins told 22News.
Wilkins once played football on the same field he hosted the clinic on.
“I’m very excited to be back here, my hometown. This is where I was born and raised, the 413, you know so this is home. No matter where I go this is home,” he continued.
The purpose of this camp is to give back to the same youth program where his football career started.
“There’s always great mentors that I had along the way and people I was able to look up to. I’m trying to be that for some kids today and inspire them,” Wilkins said.
He even inspired some athletes at the clinic to be mentors to others.
“To see the younger kids who are going to be looking up to me when I get to high school, it’s nice to see them,” Youth football player, Savighan Watkins told 22News. He was at the clinic to focus on enhancing his skills and love of the game.
Wilkins said he wasn’t sure if only one of two kids would show up but in all the clinic had 143 children who attended.
“I’m pretty excited. Chris Wilkins, it’s good how he coming back to the community and giving out to where he is, to the school that he already had been to,” Watkins continued.
Springfield Mayor Sarno visited the camp to thank Wilkins, his team and family for their dedication to giving back to the community. “Keep giving love, keep receiving love,” Wilkins said.
He plans on hosting the clinic every year in the future.