As a turbulent, divisive year draws to a close, we’re going with the idea that 2020 has something positive to offer us. That in the same way 2020 is considered the benchmark for excellent vision, maybe the events of the year have been urging us to take a closer, more honest look at ourselves and ask: Am I creating new divisions, or healing old wounds?

Eyes on the Prize

Louis Davis Jr. and Desmond Trufant have been the best of friends for as long as either can remember. The Tacoma residents spent significant portions of their childhoods at the local Boys & Girls Club (BGC) – Louis because his biological father was in prison and his mother worked the night shift; Desmond because the best athletic competition could be found there.

Like a lot of young athletes – especially in disadvantaged communities lacking opportunity – Louis and Desmond dreamed of playing professional sports. But it wasn’t until Desmond’s older brothers, Marcus and Isaiah, secured spots in the National Football League (NFL), that that dream turned into a very real possibility.

“I’d always dreamed of playing in the NFL,” says Desmond. “But seeing my brothers playing on Sundays, being on the sidelines, meeting their teammates in my brother’s home, that suddenly made the NFL very real to me. It wasn’t if I made the NFL, it was when.”

Louis felt the same, and before long both young men would, in fact, go on to secure college football scholarships, their shared childhood journey seemingly destined to continue right up into the pros and beyond. But life, as so often happens, had other ideas.

Isaiah and Desmond Trufant with Louis Davis, Jr and family in Tacoma

Desmond and Louis support Marcus Trufant before the 2008 Pro Bowl

Marcus Trufant plays for the Seattle Seahawks

2017, Louis flies down to Atlanta to workout with Desmond’s team, the Falcons, in preparation for his shot at the NFL

“Life is about the journey, not the destination.”

Destination Interrupted

For every 10,000 high school boys with dreams of playing in the NFL, 8 make it. If life really is all about the journey, that comes out to 9,992 young men who arrive at destinations far different from the one they imagined.

Like his brothers before him, Desmond was one of the fortunate few. He found a home with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, became an instant starter, earned pro bowl honors, and even made it to the Super Bowl. Now with the Detroit Lions, next year will be Desmond’s ninth, an eternity by NFL (aka Not For Long) standards.

But like the vast majority of NFL dreamers, Louis was not so fortunate. A series of injuries and surgeries put an end to his college playing days and with it any realistic hopes of making the NFL.

For the first time since childhood, Louis and Desmond were going their separate ways. That fork in the journey was trying to tell Louis something. But he wasn’t quite ready to listen, the goal of the NFL still too bright.

What Matters vs What We Celebrate

From modern culture’s perspective, one of these men was ‘successful’ because he achieved his dreams, reached his goals, summited his personal Everest. The other? Well, those stories never seem to matter as much. In much the way spectators’ eyes follow just one of the 22 men on a football field – e.g. the one with the ball – our society focuses almost exclusively on the winners.

This is the malnourishing story fed to millions of kids every year on social media, on television, and in the adult conversations overheard by young ears. Stardom, fame, fortune – these are the goals that are said to matter most in life. If you make it, your life is somehow complete, worthwhile, to be emulated. And if you don’t?

The results of this self-defeating fiction play out in countless worrying statistics: epidemic levels of depression, anxiety, suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism, and eating disorders in young people.In Black and disadvantaged communities, the carnage can be even worse. With few other options available to them and a shortage of adult males to advise (and demonstrate) otherwise, entire populations of young people set their sights on a single, unimaginably difficult goal – the NFL, the NBA, a recording contract, etc.

And when the vast majority inevitably fall short, they can easily succumb to despair and the bad decisions that come with it.

Louis knew their despair. For the first time in his young life, the Trufant family role models and his best friend were seemingly moving on without him. The storybook ending that saw Louis and Desmond playing together in the NFL wasn’t so storybook after all.

Desmond earns elite NFL status with the Atlanta Falcons

Trufant brothers Isaiah and Marcus, Xavier Cooper (formerly of the Cleveland Browns), Louis Davis, Jr. and their cousins support Desmond during his 2016 Pro Bowl performance in Hawaii

This is where the journey takes a turn, where tenacity and hard work, where inner resilience and the heart that goes with it, not only delivered Desmond to NFL stardom, but seeded Louis with the life lessons and skills that eventually would benefit him – and his community – so richly. He just needed to let go of that old goal long enough to notice.

Louis coaching the high school football team, keeping the energy high

2016, Louis works out with the Jacksonville Jaguars with his sights on the NFL 

What’s in a Journey?

Old dreams die hard, especially for intensely competitive individuals like Louis. A self-described gym rat, he returned to Tacoma with the goal of recovering from his injuries, training hard, and hoping for a direct shot at the NFL.

To make ends meet in the meantime, he took a series of part-time jobs including the Boys & Girls Club, coaching the high school football team and training people of all ages to lose weight, get in shape, and to ultimately feel better about themselves.

Early on it became clear Louis had a talent for training and motivating people. A big man with a big personality, Louis was born – in the words of his grandmother – with the gift of gab. “I’m a rah-rah guy, so I use my words and actions to drive people hard and motivate them to find the best in themselves.”

Family and friends suggested he turn his talents into a business and open his own gym. But Louis balked. His heart was still set on the NFL, the only goal he’d ever had, the only destination he believed mattered.

Eventually, Louis got his shot at the NFL. He even went so far as to workout with the Jacksonville Jaguars. A lot of hopeful talk ensued and assurances made. But once again, life had other plans. The call never came. The destination would never be reached.

The Other Leg of the Journey

In Atlanta, Desmond was immersed in the hard-knocks world of the NFL. Though built of the same work ethic and competitive spirit of his older brothers, it could be said Desmond brought an extra edge for the simple reason that as the youngest, he had to prove to his older brothers he could meet the challenge.

“In our house we were very competitive and supportive of each other,” says Desmond. “I was always on the sidelines cheering my brothers, and they’re doing that for me now. But we were also very competitive – at everything – and as the youngest I had to work that much harder to compete with them.”

That same family support also helped Desmond prepare for the NFL. “Marcus helped me to understand what to expect. He reminded me to stay humble. Because while it’s obviously a blessing to play in the NFL, it’s also a hard business. One day someone is in the building, the next day he’s gone; one day he’s a star on the field, the next day he’s on the bench. You can never rest, never let down your guard, because there’s always someone younger coming for your job. It wears you down mentally, physically, emotionally.”

Which explains why every offseason Desmond returns to the place he feels most connected and grounded: Tacoma.

His family’s commitment to each other and their community is legendary. Marcus launched the Trufant Family Foundation to deliver a wide variety of support services to Tacoma area families, most recently COVID-19 relief. And Louis refers to the Trufant parents using the hashtag, #MarriageGoals. As in, they are the ideal of what a parenting team should be.

Desmond’s good fortunes and his family’s tradition of giving back sowed that same desire in him. And although he did his fair share of philanthropic work through his association with the NFL, he wanted to do more, specifically for Tacoma. “I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t give back to my city,” says Desmond. “I’m not saying I have to do extraordinary things, but I need to be there for those kids the same way my family and community were there for me.”

Here is where those seemingly divergent journeys of Desmond and Louis were about to reconverge.

Isaiah and Marcus with “Team Tru” and a cutout homage to their brother, Desmond

The Trufant family at a Trufant Family Foundation fundraiser

“I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t give back to my city.”

“Sports is temporary, but life is long.”

Desmond and Louis with a young trainee at their gym, Onsight253

“We’re trying to break the cycle of kids giving up because they didn’t hit their dream.”

Reunited and Inspired

It was during the NFL’s 2018 offseason that Louis posted a workout video with Desmond. The two men were “flabbergasted” by the thousands of positive responses. Suddenly, the idea of a Tacoma gym didn’t seem so farfetched after all. “That’s what set the fire,” says Louis. “Des is more of a ‘show me’ type of person. When he saw that response it was like, ‘Wow, we can really do this.’”

Together, they secured a location and opened Onsight253 (the digits are the area code for their beloved Tacoma community). Much like the video that sparked it, the gym quickly took on a life of its own and for many young people became that same ‘home away from home’ Louis and Desmond had once found in the Boys & Girls Club.

For both men the gym wasn’t just about getting people – particularly kids – into good physical shape. They knew that a lot of the kids who were coming to the gym needed help in other areas of their lives as well.

“The goal has always been to have a real impact on our community,” says Louis, “and that includes providing kids with positive role models. The thing is, one day these kids see Des playing in the NFL on TV and then later they can pull up on him in the gym and have a real conversation? Man, you have no idea how much that means to them.”

For Desmond’s part, he wants those kids to see him as more than just an NFL player – to recognize that “sports is temporary, but life is long. These kids need to be realistic. My brothers and I are the 1% who make it. But even the guys who make it don’t last long. Life is long.”

So when a starstruck kid with dreams of playing in the NFL does reach out to him at the gym? “Yeah, I can tell these kids all the things I did and went through to get to college, to the NFL, things like that,” says Desmond. “But what matters is showing them that I apply everything I learned in getting to the NFL to everything else in my life – my business, philanthropy, family, everything. I want them to understand that if they do the same it doesn’t matter what they do – good things will happen.”

Louis, of course, is the living embodiment of that truth by applying those very same traits – hard work, passion, tenacity – to his gym, his community, his family. It was only when he at last let go of the goal of the NFL that the message of his life’s journey became self-evident. Or as his pastor put it, “You’ve been walking your purpose.”

So if there is one thing the wonderfully divergent/convergent journeys of Louis and Desmond teach, is that any goal – whether it’s achieved or not – neither makes nor breaks the person. It is the journey – what we put into it and take back out – that matters. This is the cornerstone lesson they want to bring to kids.

“We’re trying to break the cycle of kids just giving up because they didn’t hit their dream,” says Louis. “They end up getting into trouble, going to jail, because they don’t have any other expectations or role models who show them there’s another way.”

Embracing the Journey

Getting a child’s ear, gaining their confidence, and becoming a positive influence are all hard enough. But that job is made even more difficult when those kids are hungry or don’t have the proper clothing for Tacoma’s cold, wet weather.

“We wanted to do more for the community than just the gym,” says Louis. “Marcus taught us both that it’s important to be grateful for our blessings and to pay those forward – that it’s a blessing to be a blessing to someone else.”

With that sentiment in mind, in 2018 the two men decided to do a turkey giveaway for Thanksgiving under the name, Tacoma Kidz. Within 45 minutes they exhausted their entire supply of food. What was clear to both was that the need in parts of Tacoma was a lot bigger than a single holiday meal. Tacoma Kidz was going to have to muscle up.

The following year Tacoma Kidz became an official nonprofit organization, its mission to provide disadvantaged youth with adult mentoring, academic support, fitness training, and exposure to the realities of collegiate and professional life.

But just months after opening the doors of Onsight253 and Tacoma Kidz, they were shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, however, Louis was armed with the knowledge that his life’s journey had been preparing him all along for this and other challenges.

Every time the pandemic, or social unrest, or any of a dozen other challenges rose up, Louis and Desmond pivoted and kept moving forward. They were applying those life lessons – perseverance, tenacity, spirit, teamwork – knowing, in the words of Desmond, that “good things happen.”

This Thanksgiving was Tacoma Kidz most successful turkey giveaway yet, with more than 500 families fed. The results of their first fundraising appeal were double what they hoped for. Their newest mission: a holiday coat drive with Amazon as an official partner. Good things are indeed happening.

Desmond giving his time and resources to the kids of Tacoma

Louis, mentoring Tacoma Kidz

“Marcus taught us that it’s a blessing to be a blessing to someone else.”

Louis, featured in South Sound Business’ 40 Under 40 for his achievements 

Desmond, now with the Detroit Lions, works as hard off the field as he does on 

A Purpose Found

For his efforts, Louis will be recognized by the City of Tacoma with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award. But as he says, he’s just getting started. Both Louis and Desmond, along with the Tacoma Kidz board of directors, have big plans to grow their program, provide more services, and give the kids of Tacoma the tools they need to take any journey they want.

“We want these kids to realize they can be bigger than me, do great things,” says Desmond. “We want them to understand that just like with Louis, if you don’t hit a goal it just means you’re meant to do something else.”

Looking back over the past few years, at all that seemingly went wrong, Louis knows his pastor is right: he’s walking his purpose. His goal is to teach kids that all of us are always walking our purpose. It’s our job to find out what that purpose is.

He knows his.

“Back when I was still aiming for the NFL, if I’d known then that I’d be doing this, I’d choose this,” says Louis. “I probably would have gotten cut by the NFL anyway, you know? But here? I can’t get cut from my gym. I can’t get cut from my nonprofit. I don’t have any coaches yelling at me. This is my life and it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. And I love every day of it.”

Want to support Desmond and Louis and Tacoma Kidz? You can donate to their latest efforts to serve their city, the Tacoma Kidz Winter Coat Drive, https://app.giv.io/campaign/116/

As a turbulent, divisive year draws to a close, we’re going with the idea that 2020 has something positive to offer us. That in the same way 2020 is considered the benchmark for excellent vision, maybe the events of the year have been urging us to take a closer, more honest look at ourselves and ask: Am I creating new divisions, or healing old wounds?

Eyes on the Prize

Louis Davis Jr. and Desmond Trufant have been the best of friends for as long as either can remember. The Tacoma residents spent significant portions of their childhoods at the local Boys & Girls Club (BGC) – Louis because his biological father was in prison and his mother worked the night shift; Desmond because the best athletic competition could be found there.

Isaiah and Desmond Trufant with Louis Davis, Jr and family in Tacoma

Like a lot of young athletes – especially in disadvantaged communities lacking opportunity – Louis and Desmond dreamed of playing professional sports. But it wasn’t until Desmond’s older brothers, Marcus and Isaiah, secured spots in the National Football League (NFL), that that dream turned into a very real possibility.

Desmond and Louis support Marcus Trufant before the 2008 Pro Bowl

“I’d always dreamed of playing in the NFL,” says Desmond. “But seeing my brothers playing on Sundays, being on the sidelines, meeting their teammates in my brother’s home, that suddenly made the NFL very real to me. It wasn’t if I made the NFL, it was when.”

Louis felt the same, and before long both young men would, in fact, go on to secure college football scholarships, their shared childhood journey seemingly destined to continue right up into the pros and beyond. But life, as so often happens, had other ideas.

Marcus Trufant plays for the Seattle Seahawks

Destination Interrupted

For every 10,000 high school boys with dreams of playing in the NFL, 8 make it. If life really is all about the journey, that comes out to 9,992 young men who arrive at destinations far different from the one they imagined.

Like his brothers before him, Desmond was one of the fortunate few. He found a home with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, became an instant starter, earned pro bowl honors, and even made it to the Super Bowl. Now with the Detroit Lions, next year will be Desmond’s ninth, an eternity by NFL (aka Not For Long) standards.

But like the vast majority of NFL dreamers, Louis was not so fortunate. A series of injuries and surgeries put an end to his college playing days and with it any realistic hopes of making the NFL.

For the first time since childhood, Louis and Desmond were going their separate ways. That fork in the journey was trying to tell Louis something. But he wasn’t quite ready to listen, the goal of the NFL still too bright.

2017, Louis flies down to Atlanta to workout with Desmond’s team, the Falcons, in preparation for his shot at the NFL

“Life is about the journey, not the destination.”

What Matters vs What We Celebrate

From modern culture’s perspective, one of these men was ‘successful’ because he achieved his dreams, reached his goals, summited his personal Everest. The other? Well, those stories never seem to matter as much. In much the way spectators’ eyes follow just one of the 22 men on a football field – e.g. the one with the ball – our society focuses almost exclusively on the winners.

This is the malnourishing story fed to millions of kids every year on social media, on television, and in the adult conversations overheard by young ears. Stardom, fame, fortune – these are the goals that are said to matter most in life. If you make it, your life is somehow complete, worthwhile, to be emulated. And if you don’t?

The results of this self-defeating fiction play out in countless worrying statistics: epidemic levels of depression, anxiety, suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism, and eating disorders in young people.In Black and disadvantaged communities, the carnage can be even worse. With few other options available to them and a shortage of adult males to advise (and demonstrate) otherwise, entire populations of young people set their sights on a single, unimaginably difficult goal – the NFL, the NBA, a recording contract, etc.

And when the vast majority inevitably fall short, they can easily succumb to despair and the bad decisions that come with it.

Louis knew their despair. For the first time in his young life, the Trufant family role models and his best friend were seemingly moving on without him. The storybook ending that saw Louis and Desmond playing together in the NFL wasn’t so storybook after all.

This is where the journey takes a turn, where tenacity and hard work, where inner resilience and the heart that goes with it, not only delivered Desmond to NFL stardom, but seeded Louis with the life lessons and skills that eventually would benefit him – and his community – so richly. He just needed to let go of that old goal long enough to notice.

Trufant brothers Isaiah and Marcus, Xavier Cooper (formerly of the Cleveland Browns), Louis Davis, Jr. and their cousins support Desmond during his 2016 Pro Bowl performance in Hawaii

Desmond earns elite NFL status with the Atlanta Falcons

What’s in a Journey?

Old dreams die hard, especially for intensely competitive individuals like Louis. A self-described gym rat, he returned to Tacoma with the goal of recovering from his injuries, training hard, and hoping for a direct shot at the NFL.

To make ends meet in the meantime, he took a series of part-time jobs including the Boys & Girls Club, coaching the high school football team and training people of all ages to lose weight, get in shape, and to ultimately feel better about themselves.

Early on it became clear Louis had a talent for training and motivating people. A big man with a big personality, Louis was born – in the words of his grandmother – with the gift of gab. “I’m a rah-rah guy, so I use my words and actions to drive people hard and motivate them to find the best in themselves.”

Family and friends suggested he turn his talents into a business and open his own gym. But Louis balked. His heart was still set on the NFL, the only goal he’d ever had, the only destination he believed mattered.

Eventually, Louis got his shot at the NFL. He even went so far as to workout with the Jacksonville Jaguars. A lot of hopeful talk ensued and assurances made. But once again, life had other plans. The call never came. The destination would never be reached.

Louis coaching the high school football team, keeping the energy high

2016, Louis works out with the Jacksonville Jaguars with his sights on the NFL 

The Other Leg of the Journey

In Atlanta, Desmond was immersed in the hard-knocks world of the NFL. Though built of the same work ethic and competitive spirit of his older brothers, it could be said Desmond brought an extra edge for the simple reason that as the youngest, he had to prove to his older brothers he could meet the challenge.

“In our house we were very competitive and supportive of each other,” says Desmond. “I was always on the sidelines cheering my brothers, and they’re doing that for me now. But we were also very competitive – at everything – and as the youngest I had to work that much harder to compete with them.”

That same family support also helped Desmond prepare for the NFL. “Marcus helped me to understand what to expect. He reminded me to stay humble. Because while it’s obviously a blessing to play in the NFL, it’s also a hard business. One day someone is in the building, the next day he’s gone; one day he’s a star on the field, the next day he’s on the bench. You can never rest, never let down your guard, because there’s always someone younger coming for your job. It wears you down mentally, physically, emotionally.”

Which explains why every offseason Desmond returns to the place he feels most connected and grounded: Tacoma.

His family’s commitment to each other and their community is legendary. Marcus launched the Trufant Family Foundation to deliver a wide variety of support services to Tacoma area families, most recently COVID-19 relief. And Louis refers to the Trufant parents using the hashtag, #MarriageGoals. As in, they are the ideal of what a parenting team should be.

Desmond’s good fortunes and his family’s tradition of giving back sowed that same desire in him. And although he did his fair share of philanthropic work through his association with the NFL, he wanted to do more, specifically for Tacoma. “I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t give back to my city,” says Desmond. “I’m not saying I have to do extraordinary things, but I need to be there for those kids the same way my family and community were there for me.”

Here is where those seemingly divergent journeys of Desmond and Louis were about to reconverge.

Isaiah and Marcus with “Team Tru” and a cutout homage to their brother, Desmond

The Trufant family at a Trufant Family Foundation fundraiser

“I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t give back to my city.”

Reunited and Inspired

It was during the NFL’s 2018 offseason that Louis posted a workout video with Desmond. The two men were “flabbergasted” by the thousands of positive responses. Suddenly, the idea of a Tacoma gym didn’t seem so farfetched after all. “That’s what set the fire,” says Louis. “Des is more of a ‘show me’ type of person. When he saw that response it was like, ‘Wow, we can really do this.’”

Together, they secured a location and opened Onsight253 (the digits are the area code for their beloved Tacoma community). Much like the video that sparked it, the gym quickly took on a life of its own and for many young people became that same ‘home away from home’ Louis and Desmond had once found in the Boys & Girls Club.

For both men the gym wasn’t just about getting people – particularly kids – into good physical shape. They knew that a lot of the kids who were coming to the gym needed help in other areas of their lives as well.

“The goal has always been to have a real impact on our community,” says Louis, “and that includes providing kids with positive role models. The thing is, one day these kids see Des playing in the NFL on TV and then later they can pull up on him in the gym and have a real conversation? Man, you have no idea how much that means to them.”

For Desmond’s part, he wants those kids to see him as more than just an NFL player – to recognize that “sports is temporary, but life is long. These kids need to be realistic. My brothers and I are the 1% who make it. But even the guys who make it don’t last long. Life is long.”

So when a starstruck kid with dreams of playing in the NFL does reach out to him at the gym? “Yeah, I can tell these kids all the things I did and went through to get to college, to the NFL, things like that,” says Desmond. “But what matters is showing them that I apply everything I learned in getting to the NFL to everything else in my life – my business, philanthropy, family, everything. I want them to understand that if they do the same it doesn’t matter what they do – good things will happen.”

Louis, of course, is the living embodiment of that truth by applying those very same traits – hard work, passion, tenacity – to his gym, his community, his family. It was only when he at last let go of the goal of the NFL that the message of his life’s journey became self-evident. Or as his pastor put it, “You’ve been walking your purpose.”

So if there is one thing the wonderfully divergent/convergent journeys of Louis and Desmond teach, is that any goal – whether it’s achieved or not – neither makes nor breaks the person. It is the journey – what we put into it and take back out – that matters. This is the cornerstone lesson they want to bring to kids.

“We’re trying to break the cycle of kids just giving up because they didn’t hit their dream,” says Louis. “They end up getting into trouble, going to jail, because they don’t have any other expectations or role models who show them there’s another way.”

“Sports is temporary, but life is long.”

Desmond and Louis with a young trainee at their gym, Onsight253

“We’re trying to break the cycle of kids giving up because they didn’t hit their dream.”

Embracing the Journey

Getting a child’s ear, gaining their confidence, and becoming a positive influence are all hard enough. But that job is made even more difficult when those kids are hungry or don’t have the proper clothing for Tacoma’s cold, wet weather.

“We wanted to do more for the community than just the gym,” says Louis. “Marcus taught us both that it’s important to be grateful for our blessings and to pay those forward – that it’s a blessing to be a blessing to someone else.”

With that sentiment in mind, in 2018 the two men decided to do a turkey giveaway for Thanksgiving under the name, Tacoma Kidz. Within 45 minutes they exhausted their entire supply of food. What was clear to both was that the need in parts of Tacoma was a lot bigger than a single holiday meal. Tacoma Kidz was going to have to muscle up.

The following year Tacoma Kidz became an official nonprofit organization, its mission to provide disadvantaged youth with adult mentoring, academic support, fitness training, and exposure to the realities of collegiate and professional life.

But just months after opening the doors of Onsight253 and Tacoma Kidz, they were shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, however, Louis was armed with the knowledge that his life’s journey had been preparing him all along for this and other challenges.

Every time the pandemic, or social unrest, or any of a dozen other challenges rose up, Louis and Desmond pivoted and kept moving forward. They were applying those life lessons – perseverance, tenacity, spirit, teamwork – knowing, in the words of Desmond, that “good things happen.”

This Thanksgiving was Tacoma Kidz most successful turkey giveaway yet, with more than 500 families fed. The results of their first fundraising appeal were double what they hoped for. Their newest mission: a holiday coat drive with Amazon as an official partner. Good things are indeed happening.

Desmond giving his time and resources to the kids of Tacoma

Louis, mentoring Tacoma Kidz

“Marcus taught us that it’s a blessing to be a blessing to someone else.”

A Purpose Found

For his efforts, Louis will be recognized by the City of Tacoma with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award. But as he says, he’s just getting started. Both Louis and Desmond, along with the Tacoma Kidz board of directors, have big plans to grow their program, provide more services, and give the kids of Tacoma the tools they need to take any journey they want.

“We want these kids to realize they can be bigger than me, do great things,” says Desmond. “We want them to understand that just like with Louis, if you don’t hit a goal it just means you’re meant to do something else.”

Looking back over the past few years, at all that seemingly went wrong, Louis knows his pastor is right: he’s walking his purpose. His goal is to teach kids that all of us are always walking our purpose. It’s our job to find out what that purpose is.

He knows his.

“Back when I was still aiming for the NFL, if I’d known then that I’d be doing this, I’d choose this,” says Louis. “I probably would have gotten cut by the NFL anyway, you know? But here? I can’t get cut from my gym. I can’t get cut from my nonprofit. I don’t have any coaches yelling at me. This is my life and it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. And I love every day of it.”

Want to support Desmond and Louis and Tacoma Kidz? You can donate to their latest efforts to serve their city, the Tacoma Kidz Winter Coat Drive, https://app.giv.io/campaign/116/

Louis, featured in South Sound Business’ 40 Under 40 for his achievements 

Desmond, now with the Detroit Lions, works as hard off the field as he does on 

Donate to Tacoma Kidz Coat Drive

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