Authors: Candice Reed
Ovie Mughelli isn’t your stereotypical environmentalist. He’s a Pro Bowl fullback for the Atlanta Falcons and one of his jobs is to protect the quarterback. Off the field he protects the environment.
Mughelli uses his star status to reach children and teach them how they can care for the environment and make important green lifestyle changes. Through the Ovie Mughelli Foundation, he hosts youth football camps and environmental fitness camps, teaching kids about the connection between a healthy environment and a healthy body.
The football star will soon be teaming up with Green For All to further spread the news about the environment and green jobs.
“I think it’s important to share with communities, especially inner-city communities, that green jobs are the future. That’s where Green For All comes in to the picture. I’m excited to be working with Green For All to get these messages out there,” he said. “I really believe that by working together we can give kids the tools to pull themselves out of poverty with green jobs.”
Mughelli, born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, is a 9-year NFL veteran. One of the biggest fullbacks in the NFL, Ovie is known for being a power blocker, and for being able to pick up blitzes. He has one of the best special team minds in the game. He also encourages his teammates to go green, and has dedicated his life to helping disadvantaged kids and leaving behind a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous world.
The Pro-Bowl football player said that when his daughter Olivia was born three years ago he and his wife stepped up their concerns for the environment.
“My daughter is a big reason I do what I do,” he said. “I would hate for her to get older and ask, ‘Dad, why didn't you care about my future? Why didn't you do anything about the environment, about the air?’ I don't want to have that conversation when she's in her twenties.”
Mughelli’s goal is to stress the connection between sports, health and a clean environment.
“I host a youth football skills camp and a lot of the kids as well as their parents, are surprised when the first thing I start talking about is the environment and what they can do to change it,” he said. “We’ve found that if you empower kids by educating them about the environment, you give them a platform to transform their households, their neighborhoods, their communities, and the world. We encourage them to be leaders and to pull themselves out of poverty by looking towards green jobs.”
Mughelli's Eco-Athlete Foundation also holds a Green Speaker series highlighting different green jobs and he said that most of the people who attend the event are amazed at the diversity and profitability of green jobs.
Mughelli and his foundation work with urban communities because he feels they deal with the brunt of pollution and that they also have the power to be real leaders in protecting the environment.
“It depends on what neighborhood you go to, but many deal with poverty and violence, so sometimes it's hard to convince them that the recycling is important,” he said. “African-Americans also deal with the negative effects of the environment more than others. We have landfills and coal-powered plants in our neighborhoods. The good news is that change can come from these very kids. They have more power than you might think.”