Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson visited Dogwood Elementary School on Tuesday to discuss his initiatives for Bullying Prevention Month.
Arriving in the early afternoon, Jackson walked into the school's gymnasium to the cheers of 4th, 5th and 6th graders, while a handful of band students greeted the three-time Pro Bowler with a rendition of "Hail To The Redskins."
Wide awake and just hours removed after returning home from Dallas after a big win over the Cowboys, Jackson felt it was important for him to speak with the kids — sleep or no sleep.
"It means a lot to me, honestly," he said. "I love to interact and come rub elbows with the youth. That's what we're here for – to make a difference."
After receiving a formal introduction from assistant principal Sean McCartney, Jackson spoke about bullying in and out of school, and how it takes just a little bit of courage to make a big difference.
"Just stand up and don't be afraid to stand up," Jackson said when asked about his overall message. "That's the big thing, have them understand that it's going to make a difference if they do speak, or ask for help or ask for guidance in certain situations."
Following his speech, the Pro Bowl wideout held an open question-and-answer segment with students from the group. Nothing was off limits, as he was asked about his life off the field, as well as on it, and some general thoughts on bullying and his football career.
"There were some great questions," Jackson said. "That just lets you know how intelligent the youth are and the future is very bright for our world."
To wrap up his stay, Jackson and a select handful of students then ventured down the hallway into an empty classroom where he held a roundtable discussion with the kids and fielded more questions about himself, his career and his life growing up.
After the meeting, Jackson autographed posters for the students and posed for several pictures.
Despite playing in a hard-fought battle against a division rival just about 12 hours before his visit, Jackson was adamant to use the opportunity to discuss a topic he's passionate about. While others may gripe at the opportunity, Jackson was more than willing.
"Anytime I'm able to do these types of things, this is what I love to do," he said. "[I am] never forced to do it. [I] always want to get a good word across to the youth."