SACRAMENTO — Over the weekend 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead raised over $100,000 at his Charity Gala to provide the underserved youth of his hometown with equal opportunity education programs.
Proceeds from the weekend will fund the Armstead Academic Project which provides multiple resources for young students in the Sacramento area where Armstead grew up. Not only does the organization fund supplies for students and schools in need, but they also provide interactive programs for students to work in smaller groups.
Armstead is not just a talking head. He has done his research and cited several statistics that he is trying to change: Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
One of Armstead’s programs is a creative writing workshop to help build the confidence of the participants. Armstead not only funds these programs, but he is also actively involved as a positive voice and role model. Last year some of the stories written at Armstead’s workshop were even published as a collection.
Armstead’s cause was supported by several of his teammates, including Richard Sherman, DeForest Buckner, Ahkello Witherspoon, Ronald Blair, Jaquiski Tartt and Sheldon Day. Former teammate and current Raiders tackle Trent Brown, as well as Panthers linebacker and Sacramento native Shaq Thompson also attended.
Several pieces of autographed sports memorabilia from Bay Area players were up for silent auction including signed jerseys from Steph Curry, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig. It was during the live auction where things got a little heated.
Sherman donated a painting of his likeness which he autographed on site. He drove the price up by bidding for the item himself which got the crowd motivated and riled up.
Another painting that featured Buckner and Armstead together as both Oregon Ducks and 49ers was an item that also had a flurry of bidding. Both players got up on the stage to help inspire bidders to open their wallets.
The following day Armstead hosted nearly 200 children in his youth football camp held at Pleasant Grove High School where he was a member of the football team. The campers went through both offensive and defensive drills while Armstead went from group to group giving one-on-one coaching.
At the conclusion of the camp, Armstead spoke to the group and gave awards to campers who stood out both as teammates and with their work ethic.
Armstead hopes to continue to raise awareness of how literacy affects the population in a positive way while providing opportunities for those with little or no resources.