Wed Dec 21 10:35am EST
At 22 college campuses across the country, there are 79 students who may not otherwise be there if not for the generosity of Braylon Edwards.
As a Cleveland Browns rookie in 2005, Edwards announced he'd give $10,000 in scholarships to 100 area eighth-graders if they could graduate high school with over a 2.5 GPA and 15 hours community service. Of the 100 who were afforded the opportunity, 79 met the criteria and have begun their first year of college. Many are attending Ohio universities, but the schools represented spread across the country and include Harvard, Cornell and Johns Hopkins.
"Without this scholarship, I probably wouldn't be here," Bowling Green freshman David Gholston told ESPN's Rick Reilly.
Edwards and his mother developed the Advance 100 program as a way to give back. The way they saw it, they were blessed with Edwards' football abilities and felt the need to help out others with their good fortune. Though they didn't expect so many of the students to fit the criteria (only half of Cleveland public school students graduate high school), Edwards didn't shy away from his commitment. In fact, he increased it.
The 79 students were provided with laptops and other supplies to help them out when they arrived on campus.
"I'm supposed to give people a chance like I was given a chance," Edwards said.
Edwards hasn't played for the Browns in two years. He's a member of the San Francisco 49ers this season and is earning a $1 million base salary for the year, just about what he'll pay those 79 students he promised to help years ago.
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