As little Maya Strada moved from corner to corner of the room, she just could not find her comfort zone. Turning. Tossing. Sliding. Rolling. Being restless. Until Rashad “Roc” Carmichael, Rookie Cornerback for the Houston Texans, and most importantly, Founder of Bless All People, gave sweet little Maya some attention and a cozy spot front row and center to his retelling of the short children’s story, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
The Barnes & Nobles remained packed to the brim with eager children, and their attentive parents, enjoying cups of hot chocolate. “I think it’s great that he is taking time to read stories to the local children,” said Matt Strada. It was all thanks to the Bless All People. “Honestly, BAP was something I always wanted to do while playing at Virginia Tech,” said Carmichael. He explains that while taking classes, he was involved in the Head Start program working with children, which showed him “what being happy feels like.”
So what exactly is Bless All People about? BAP seeks to enhance the quality of life among the at-risk communities in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Their mission is to prevent high-school dropout percentages from rising, and also preventing homelessness and hunger in the urban communities of inner cities. Quinton “Loko” Law said, “It is a blessing; it’s all positive vibes; doing for the less fortunate. There are few people who are trying to do the positive. It’s about all people.” Law is in charge of all media and has been one of BAP and Carmichael’s most devoted supporters since day one. “Everyone has NFL dreams, he [Carmichael] didn’t forget where he came from. He remembered the people, he gave back to all, and now here we are,” said Law. Along with Law, Carmichael has also had support from his brother Nigel Carmichael and La Toya Brandon.
The most profound influence on Carmichael’s direction and determination are his mother and his father. His father just passed away recently, which had a profound effect on him. Carmichael grew up helping others, as his father would train him, and other neighborhood friends and teammates would want to join in. “My dad was a mentor… He would always say, I can’t tell you how to make it, but I can show you,” said Carmichael. According to Carmichael, when it came to work ethic, none could teach it better than his father, which explains the other dimension incorporated into BAP.
BAP’s mission is also to encourage, spiritually uplift, and inspire through their social media pages and to increase self-esteem building, and self-dependency. Also to decrease negativity, self doubt, and continue to implement their motto to “Bless All People.” The most influential phrase that Carmichael lives by is, “Don’t give up on your dreams, and your dreams won’t give up on you.”
At the start of this new year, BAP is ready to dominate 2012. As far as long term goals, Carmichael hopes to one day hold a Million Young Men March. “It would be like the same march from 95’ except it will relate to the youth. It will bring influential young men together,” said Carmichael. With such strong vision and drive, it is clear that Carmichael’s dream may reach fruition faster than we expect. BAP has also taken the next step and begun to create merchandise such as hats, shirts, etc. to promote to others the urgency to always “bless all people.” Carmichael remembers a time when some of his peers would mock him when he shared his idea of BAP, but it seems those days are a nightmare of the past.
As soon as Carmichael was finished reading books to the young children, he decided to leave them with a memento. All of the kids hurdled to the line up, hungry to receive a Houston Texans hat with Carmichael’s freshly written signature bore on the center of the cap. “I can finally tell my friends that I got signed by an NFL player,” said Nickolas Thornton, a young man in attendance for the reading.
Carmichael wants everyone to live the kind of life that will “bless all people.” What efforts have you and will you make to “bless all people”? Share the ways that you are making a difference in your own community.