By Dorris Hollingsworth, vice president of human resources, Carter
ATLANTA (Dec. 21, 2011) – Since Carter’s foundation in 1958, community involvement has been at the core of our mission, and this fall we added an exciting and successful component to our public outreach. Spearheaded by former Atlanta Falcon Floyd Hodge, now a community relations manager at Carter, the I.C.E. program visits Atlanta-area high schools and presents speeches by former professional athletes that urge students to demonstrate integrity, commitment and excellence while they pursue their education and careers.
Floyd, who did not have an easy road to the NFL, begins each event with a recap of how he was able to achieve a successful career with the Falcons through hard work and commitment. He then yields the microphone to a guest speaker.
In September, the I.C.E. program visited Therrell High School, and former Atlanta Falcon Jessie “The Hammer” Tuggle spoke to the students. Later that month, Floyd and former Harlem Globetrotter Michael Douglas visited Mays High School, and Buddy Curry, a former Atlanta Falcon who is the co-founder of Kids and Pros, traveled with Floyd to Carver High School. In October, former Falcon Bobby Butler spoke at Cross Keys High School.
November featured three I.C.E. events. Early in the month, Floyd and former Falcon Billy “White Shoes” Johnson visited McNair High School, and on the 17th, 55 students from Tucker High School visited Carter’s offices to hear Floyd and former Falcon Stacey Bailey speak. Lunch was provided by Chik-fil-A. The final event of the year took place when Floyd and former Falcon Mike Haynes traveled to Mundy’s Mill High School.
The program will start the new year off strong: Floyd and former Falcon and Georgia Bulldog D.J. Shockley will visit North Clayton High School on Jan. 12. Events at Lovejoy High School and Forest Park High School are slated for later in the month.
The effect that Floyd and his fellow speakers have on their audiences is obvious. An email from Romello Swain, a senior at Tucker High, to Floyd demonstrates the positive effect the I.C.E. program is having.
“I really appreciate how you took time out of the day to come and talk with me and my fellow peers,” Swain wrote. “I understood every word you said and learned a lot from your speech. You are a positive role model for me because I too want to be a manager or own a business or corporation. When I go to college, I want to major in Finance, Accounting, Economics or Business Administration. I really want to be a successful black man in this world, and I will do whatever it takes to climb to the top. I really hope we can stay in touch. Again, thanks a lot taking time out of your day to come and talk with me and my fellow peers.”
For more than 50 years, Carter has been committed to serving the communities were we live and work. Every year we volunteer thousands ofhours, including company-sponsored time, to support causes that move us. The I.C.E. program promotes education and encourages students in Atlanta-area high schools to exemplify integrity, commitment and excellence in everything they do. These are values at the core of Carter’s corporate mission and we believe it is our responsibility to share these ideals with our youth.
If you are interested in finding out more about the I.C.E. program and Carter’s involvement in the community, contact Floyd Hodge at [email protected]