WAXAHACHIE — Two years ago, coach Jon Kitna visited the Rotary Club at the start of his career in Waxahachie and vowed that developing young men is his goal and motivation. Last year during his visit, Kitna introduced his R.E.A.L men program.
R.E.A.L. stands for:
Reject passivity. People should be aware of what is happening around them and react appropriately. If a young man does not understand he asks. If he sees someone needing help he helps.
Empathize with others. Trying to understand the other person’s viewpoint. Perhaps common ground can be reached.
Accept responsibility. If you have done something or not done something accept the consequences.
Lead courageously. Leadership takes strength. If something needs doing and nobody is getting involved urge them on.
This year the club received an update.
Coach Kitna said he became a coach to serve as a leader in the lives of his players. His passion is to develop, train and graduate R.E.A.L. men. Last year all but one senior on the football team graduated. The GPA of the team has been raised .88 points, six players from each grade level are in the top ten in their class, and 19 graduates are on full football scholarships at college while six serve in the military.
These young men do their schoolwork, show up for practice and work in the community. They have become a brotherhood looking out for themselves and each other. It is not all fun and games, though.
Almost half of Waxahachie High students are in some sort of low-income program. Many do not get enough to eat, so Kitna’s wife, Jen, has set up a program called the PBJ club to provide extra protein, carbs and a little sugar for the team members. Each player receives two sandwiches, providing 780 calories. Many teammates were underfed and have since gained weight. Pre-game hot meals are also provided.
Jen said many volunteers and sponsors are needed to sustain this program. They buy, make and deliver 1,100 sandwiches each week using 112 loaves of bread, several cases of smooth peanut butter and grape jam and willing hands to do the work.
To participate in the PBJ Club or any other part of team activity, visit the website http://www.waxahachieqbc.com. There are team schedules and a wealth of information including how to make a financial contribution or volunteer.