PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — It’s back to school for students across Providence, and back to Gillette Stadium for the New England Patriots, who have their home opener coming up this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
But ahead of that, those two worlds collided this morning in Providence as Pats cornerback Jalen Mills took a trip down Interstate 95 to meet kids at Young Woods Elementary School.
Students at the school wore Pats gear to cheer on the corner and cheerleaders during a special visit to the school.
“I came in and the kids were going crazy. It had me more nervous to come in and talk to the kids with how excited they were than an actual football game,” Mills told ABC 6 News.
Mills and the cheerleaders spoke to students about their experiences growing up in school, and some of their dreams growing up. The visit was part of a new program launched by Patriots owner Robert Kraft last year to help local charities and donated $40,000 in March. Those proceeds coming from New England Patriots license plates they started selling.
Tuesday’s visit brought the whole school together for an assembly for students to listen and even get to ask some questions to the Pats corner.
One student asked him why he wanted to play football.
“I play football because I love it. It was one of my dreams when I was a little kid,” Mills answered.
Also, what he would do if he wasn’t a football player?
“I would be an astronaut,” he said.
Mills said events like this are why he plays the game.
During the visit, Mills talked to students about how important it is to stay in school and get an education. And at the end of his visit, the Pats corner made a promise to students.
Mills told them if they keep up 90% or better school-wide attendance this year, he’ll come back to visit the school again in January after the season.
“To get to come down here knowing the influence I have on the community, and giving these kids encouragement to come to school and learn more. It means everything,” Mills said.