WESTFIELD, Ind. – Students at South View Elementary in Muncie, Indiana, are among many students in central Indiana who have a new benefactor. South View is a Title I school, defined by the US Department of Education as a school in which at least 40% of students are from low-income families.
Erin Eads’ kindergarten class in South View now has more resources in the classroom thanks to Indianapolis Colts defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
Even in the midst of training camp, Ngakoue last week put out a request on Twitter imploring local teachers to post links to their Amazon wishlists of school supplies for his exam, noting that “surprises are my thing”.
Eads was quite surprised when an Amazon delivery driver showed up at her home on Sunday evening with several boxes of snacks, books and assorted supplies for her students.
“When my husband went to get the packages and opened them, it was from Yannick and I was immediately very moved,” Eads said. “To have someone use their platform for so much good, when they don’t know me or my kids or our situation, it was amazing. It meant so much.”
Eads won’t be the only teacher to experience this. On Monday, Ngakoue said he had completed 31 wishlists and planned to continue until the number reached 91 – the same as his shirt number. His tweet had 850 replies at the time.
Hey @Colts Nation – where are my LOCAL teachers? With school just around the corner and knowing the challenges you face getting the right items into your classroom, I want to help. Please drop your Amazon wishlists 👇🏾 so I can have a look – surprises are my thing 💯
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) August 5, 2022
His motivation is simple: he has been where some of these children are now.
“Kids coming from backgrounds like mine, we don’t have it like that,” he said. “When you often go to school, you are happy because it’s your first meal of the day.”
Eads said his students regularly run out of supplies due to their families’ difficult circumstances. Add to that the shortage of teachers and a general lack of resources, and the job can sometimes seem thankless.
“There really are tough days,” she said. “But I think the results are so worth it. Seeing kids make friends or seeing a kid share something for the first time or [understand] a concept we have been working on for a long time, these little moments are enough to hook you.
“It’s truly a blessing to work with our kids and our community. It’s an honor. I get angry talking about it. We’re really lucky to serve the community the way we do. It’s about the kids. it’s just that we put them in place to be successful…. These kids deserve a chance like everyone else.
Ngakoue recognizes these sacrifices. He called the teachers “superheroes” and said he benefited from helping them as much as they from receiving his help. The effort is just the latest in a series of attempts to connect with the Central Indiana community, he says, “like home” for a player who has changed teams four times over the course of of the last two years.
“It’s better than getting fired on Sunday,” said Ngakoue, who was traded to Indianapolis from the Las Vegas Raiders in March. “And it’s not the end. No sir. When you give back it’s bigger than football. Ultimately this game will be over one day. So I’m just happy to be able to leave My brand.”