Recent University Graduate Seeks to Help Asbury Park Youth

lamarLamar Davenport, a recent criminal justice graduate and member of the University football team, has decided to give back to his hometown community of Asbury Park, NJ by being a role model and positive influence to children in the schools.

Asbury Park is a town that has the third highest crime rate in New Jersey, according to a report published on in 2012. Due to the circumstances of growing up in a statistically unsafe area like Asbury Park, Davenport aspires to cement the idea of both academic and personal success to the students.

Being a University athlete, Davenport said he would love to coach and mentor the students of the Asbury Park school football teams and be a positive force. He said, “I had a tremendous support system in high school and through college.” Davenport credits his success in life to his own personal role models, and aspires to have that influence on others.

In 2013, Asbury Park High School had a graduation rate of 51 percent, according to an article published on Davenport said he aspires to stay connected to the place that he grew up in. “I want to be able to contribute my efforts to Asbury Park and help kids and people who are facing similar struggles I faced growing up,” he said.

Davenport feels that a mentorship program will also help them avoid a crime-driven life. According to an article published in 2013, the total number of recorded crime incidents in Asbury Park was 1,106.  

One of those recorded incidents involved Davenport; while at a party in Asbury Park, he was stabbed in the torso. Nonetheless, such a traumatic experience did not deter Davenport from graduating. “I attended college because I knew getting a degree would allow me to accomplish the goals I set for myself,” said Davenport. His determination, even in times of hardship, has led him to live a more positive lifestyle. 

As a college student and athlete, Davenport worked to maintain his grades in order to keep his status as an athlete and an Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Scholar. 

lamar footballAccording to the University’s website, “the Mission of Monmouth University’s Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program is to provide full-time admission and the financial and academic support needed to highly motivated NJ students from families and communities disadvantaged by low income.” As stated in the University’s EOF rules and regulations, any proof of underage drinking would follow in an immediate termination of all EOF financial support. Therefore, Davenport had to be conscious of his priorities when it came to the social aspects of college life.

“His success, both as a student and as a Division 1 athlete, provides a great example for the students at Asbury Park High School,” said Callahan. 

Balancing the priorities of life was a hardship he overcame with the aid of many important individuals. Davenport said, “I had a tremendous support system in high school and through college. All of my football coaches pushed me to receive my degree. I still keep in touch with many of my coaches from high school and college,” said Davenport. 

Davenport said that the youth need to see examples of success in their day to day lives. He is proof that those growing up in Asbury Park can graduate high school and take opportunities to succeed in institutions of higher learning outside of the impoverished town.  

Davenport was raised by his single mother, along with his four other siblings. He was the eldest, and therefore the role model as he is the first in his family to go to college. His mother tried to find ways to keep Davenport off the streets, and away from negative aspects of community life. “I had a memorable childhood. My mother always had me involved in sports or other activities to keep me busy,” he said. 

As a child, Davenport said his mother was his primary support system; she pushed him towards becoming the man he is today. “She was the person who believed in me and allowed me to believe I am capable of doing anything, despite coming from a tough area,” said Davenport. 

After graduating Asbury Park High School in 2012, he was drafted onto the University football team. 

“Lamar’s accomplishments at the University are an indication of his perseverance and motivation. He overcame a number of obstacles both academically and athletically,” said Kevin Callahan, the University’s head football coach.