NFL player Emmanuel Ellerbee is on a mission to take his impact and influence far beyond the football field. According to ABC13, the Atlanta Falcons linebacker has launched a nonprofit designed to introduce student-athletes to STEAM.
The organization Bee’s Believers sits at the intersection of sports and education and was created to help underserved youth develop leadership skills so they can feel empowered to drive change in their communities and beyond. Founded on the pillars of “grit, perseverance, enthusiasm, hope and purpose,” Bee’s Believers strive to expose children to career paths in STEAM, where many of them are underrepresented.
For Ellerbee, the concept for the nonprofit was derived from his personal experiences. While attending the Houston-based Strake Jesuit College Preparatory school, one of his teachers stressed the importance of pursuing other interests outside of football. Ellerbee took heed to his teacher’s advice, developed a passion for STEM and later earned a degree in civil engineering from Rice University.
“Bee’s Believers was an idea that really got bred when I was at Strake Jesuit,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Everyone at this school made sure that what I did on the football field wasn’t a total summation of who I was. They always made sure that I had it in the classroom as well.”
He hopes to use Bee’s Believers as an avenue to change the narrative surrounding diversity in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics and eradicate the socio-economic barriers standing in the way of accessibility to STEAM education.
“For us, it was all about going for inner-city schools and just giving them the opportunity to be able to have that exposure that they typically wouldn’t get,” he added.
The organization is slated to host an event in March 2022 that will connect youth with professional athletes who have charted paths in the STEAM space. Initiatives like the one being led by Ellerbee are needed as STEAM education disparities persist.