Following the major scandal that rocked a Centre County children’s charity and Penn State, Brad Schmitt is using football to try and shed a positive light on another local charity.
Schmitt, the area director for Young Life Centre County, helped book former Nittany Lions quarterback and current ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge to be the speaker at the annual Young Life banquet fundraising event Oct. 22 at Beaver Stadium’s Mount Nittany Club.
He said the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal is a major reason why Blackledge agreed to attend the banquet.
“We had no idea that he would agree to do it, and he said he would in light of everything that's going on,” Schmitt said. “I honestly can not think of a better speaker that we could have for this community.”
Blackledge couldn’t be reached for comment.
Young Life is a program designed to help middle and high school students deal with daily life and get support. Adults spend time with them in large-and small-group meetings, activities, summer camps and other structured gatherings.
Schmitt said the program is not only for “troubled” kids. The organization works with people from all backgrounds, from “A” students to ones who might be struggling, he said.
“We want to let people know that there is positive, healthy work going on with kids in the community,” he said.
The annual banquet is the only major fundraiser that helps Young Life amass its $140,000 operating budget, he said. The remainder comes from private donations.
Schmitt said the about 100 kids each week attend the club meetings and activities, but the number of students contacted and given support is much higher.
He just wishes for continued success and support from Centre County.
“There obviously is that unfortunate situation that happened, but that doesn’t mean kids should be abandoned or that adults shouldn’t care about them,” Schmitt said.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan