Almanac

Sports - July 31, 2013

Ellison teaches life skills to teens

by Sam Borsos

Portola Valley native Rhett Ellison, who plays tight end and fullback for the Minnesota Vikings, mentored students this summer at the Stanford Youth Impact Program, designed to help low-income, urban-based minority male students with academics and life skills.

The program was founded in 2005 by his father, Riki Ellison, a former linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and a former resident of Portola Valley.

Rhett Ellison spoke to middle school male students (ages 10-14) about the importance of education, and using skills learned in football both on and off the field.

The program, which ran from July 8 to July 26 at Stanford University, provides classroom training and tutoring in English, math and life skills, as well as football clinics and fitness training. More than 100 kids participated.

"YIP is a tremendous program that goes far beyond football and teaches life skills and values such as a strong work ethic, discipline and teamwork," Rhett says.

Both Rhett and his father Riki played football at the University of Southern California. Riki Ellison, who now lives in Washington, D.C., has been chairman of the Youth Impact Program since its start.

"Despite playing college football in Southern California and now professionally in Minnesota, the Bay Area is still my home," says Rhett.

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