He’s a four-time Pro Bowler, college national champion and one of the most dominant offensive talents in the NFL. Now, Julio Jones can add Super Bowl participant (maybe winner – we’ll find out tonight!) to his resume.
After six years in the pros, the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver finally reached the biggest game in his sport.
But when he’s not lighting up the scoreboard eye-popping touchdown catches, Jones excels at being a philanthropist and a role model for children off the field.
Here are the ways in which the NFL star is changing his community for the better.
Military Man & Significance in Super Bowl LI
Jones isn’t, nor has he ever been, in the military but he proudly supports the men and women who serve the United States in uniform.
“A big part of what’s so great about America is the men and women who sacrifice daily, so we can live our lives and feel safe,” Jone said in 2013 while taking part in a Wounded Warrior luncheon.
Sponsored by the USAA and NFL, the event saw players from the league meet, sign autographs, and take photos with Purple Heart recipients and combat-wounded soldiers.
“That event was so impactful because it gave me an opportunity to praise those guys that go out there and fight for our country every day,” Jones said.
For Super Bowl LI, Jones and his teammates are honoring Fallen Heroes by wearing the initials of soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice, on their helmets during the game.
Donating Time, Money, & Hair for Children
Like so many of his colleagues, Jones sees the importance in setting a good example to kids.
“I’m trying to impact the youth,” Jones said in 2013. “I try to lead by example, always keeping my nose clean and staying out of trouble, because I know kids are looking up to me; I want to be the best example I can be for them.”
There’s no better way to broadcast a good image than by donating your time and efforts to children’s causes.
As a rookie in 2011, Jones immediately acclimated himself to Atlanta and it’s residents as he participated in several charitable events initiated by the Atlanta Falcons Rookie Club.
When then-Falcons head coach Mike Smith hosted the 4th annual Huddle Up for Miracles in 2013, Jones served as a celebrity waiter and helped raise over $250,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“We do a lot of community service here, and from going to a lot of hospitals and seeing all the kids who are fans of mine, I just cut my hair and donated it for leukemia patients,” Jones said.
In spring of 2016, Jones took part in Chevrolet’s Leap Day-inspired social media campaign #DayItForward, which encouraged people to used the extra 24 hours of the year to do something nice for someone else.
Jones utilized the opportunity to give back to Atlanta residents by teaming with the Southwest Ecumencial Emergency Assistance Center (SWEEAC), an organization that partners with churches and communities to assist families living in crisis.
“The whole purpose of me being out here today is giving back, showing everyone—the people still out here—that we believe in them,” Jones said.
— Julio Jones (@juliojones_11) February 29, 2016
The talented receiver helped pack grocery bags full of fruits and veggies and delivered them to the less fortunate people of his adopted hometown.
“It’s really good just to see people get excited,” he said.
“Just being around that positive energy, hanging out and talking with them for a little bit to really get to know them and see what their life story is and serve them and help them and be an inspiration to them.”
Thanks to his spectacular play and philanthropic work the name Julio Jones is, and will always be, synonymous with Atlanta.
Be sure to check out our charity profile on his Falcons teammate, Matt Ryan!