Changemakers: Henry Tellis
Montgomery native Henry Tellis recognizes the potential for greatness in Montgomery’s youth. He is on a mission to help them carve out a path that leads a successful future.
“Growing up I rarely seen anyone impacting our community at all. And believe it or not as a young man I knew one day I was going to play in the NFL and I knew when that time come I wanted to give back to my community and fill those voids that I see we greatly needed growing up. ” said Tellis.
Tellis grew up in Smiley Court and Gibbs Village on the city’s west side. He went on to play football at Auburn, which led to opportunities to play professionally for the New York Giants and the Jets. He is using his experience on the football field, to carry out his game plan to improve the capital city, one child at a time.
“Many of our young men and women, not many people have great expectations out of them; they have all the greatness on the inside of them to do anything they want to do, but expectations are low; they don’t ever see themselves doing anything because of the all the people around them.”
Tellis started his foundation in 2012. It provides mentoring, outreach services and summer camps, among other things. The Henry Tellis Foundation has scored some major wins since opening its doors. He says “the greatest impact is seeing guys graduate from high school. Most of the young men that come from many of the communities that we mentor and do work with. They have no aspirations of graduating at the time that we work with them. So now, to see them graduate from high school; college even and get married themselves and mentor other young men; that’s the greatest impact that we’ve seen.”
Tellis’ former teammates at auburn have also gotten behind his organization, attending his annual ‘A Night of Hope’ benefit dinner which helps fund the foundation’s efforts.
“Some kids don’t get the opportunity to do it, so kids don’t have a place to even sleep,” said James Brooks, a former Auburn Running Back.
“He has been mentoring the fatherless youth in the inner city. And that is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to be part of,” said former Auburn Quarterback Charlie Trottman.
“so for them to support me,” Tellis says, “and to continue to do well here in the city that really touches my heart and lets me know that they still have my back and they still believe in the vision that I have to impact young people’s lives.”
Tellis say sthe mission that he is on, can’t be won alone. It takes a team to accomplish the goal of winning in the lives of Montgomery’s youth, by helping them become the best that they can be at whatever it is they choose to do.
“So that’s my long term goal with the foundation that I be duplicated, that there be other young men and young women that want to come along and impact the communities where they stay.”
If you’d like to help Henry Tellis accomplish his mission of keeping kids on the right track, click here.