For former NFL tight end, Tony Stewart, the next season of life is less about football and more about the community. As a husband and father of four, this San Ramon resident and former Oakland Raider has paid attention to the road signs of life, following his passion by guiding youth in at-risk communities with his non-profit, Beyond the Locker.
Known for helping thousands of Bay Area teens and student athletes unearth their potential through social-emotional and leadership development, Tony’s work has not gone unnoticed. He recently received the 2014 John Maxwell Leadership Award, a national honor given to 1 of 3000 nominees for extraordinary acts of leadership in our society.
“Our mission is to help youth have better self-awareness, empower them with self-worth and teach life skills through sports,” says Tony. “Essentially we show students how to be leaders of positive change in the local and business community.”
After transitioning out of the NFL four years ago, Tony went through his own process of self-discovery. While tapping into his personal purpose, he realized people shouldn’t have to wait until they’re 32 to uncover who they are.
Tony used this experience and his compassion for student athletes to pilot his first program at Fremont’s Robertson High School, a second- chance school that continues to play a foundational role in the non-profit’s success.
“Self- discovery and self-empowerment are the first steps in our program,” says Tony. “It’s about helping the students understand the greatness inside of them and giving them the chance to prove it to themselves and the community.”
Revolving around a communal hub, such a high school class or sports team, Beyond the Locker uses these life skill camps to help students grow. Youth participants conduct presentations for local CEOs and corporate board meetings, increasing their confidence and paving a road for a brighter future.
While Tony has already implemented programs in the Fremont, Pittsburgh and East Palo Alto areas, his journey has just begun. He aims to find a hub in the 680 corridor to serve youth in stressed situations. In order to do so, Beyond the Locker seeks financial sponsors from local businesses and community members interested in youth development. From there, the program fuels itself.
“I always wanted Beyond the Locker to be a legacy. The program strives to grow leaders that can continue the work, and teach other students.”
A compassionate man driven with authenticity, Tony uses his organization as a vehicle to connect with a range of teens. Whether they’ve struggled with divorce, foster homes, teen pregnancy, or probation, his program dismantles labels and shows youth how to anchor themselves in their own unique identity for positive change.
Like most who pay it forward, doors have continued to open for Tony since he graciously accepted the John Maxwell Award and its $25,000 prize in late February of this year.
Standing at a bountiful crossroads, he plans to continue building Beyond the Locker, and plans to pursue work in real estate, a chapter he began nearly a year ago while mentoring under Jim Walberg of Pacific Union – Christie’s International’s The Bay Area Team.
“I’ve always been interested in real estate, and
what the next season of life would hold for me,” he says. “I wanted to get a better understanding about the industry and see how I could serve my peers that I played with in the NFL.”
An NFL ambassador, transition coach and former union representative who completed business programs at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford, Tony has built a trusted reputation among his football peers for his honest advice.
Accustomed to changes in his own life, Tony believes he can continue to serve athletes and communities as an authentic consultant for real estate matters.
“I moved every year I was in the NFL whether it was to a different town, different state, or to different team,” says Tony. “So, when I found Walberg and a community-focused real estate practice I knew it would be a good fit.”
Tony plans to continue his leadership work by training youth in sports and speaking to student athletes and business leaders all over the globe. Wherever this next road leads him, it’s clear his altruistic nature and authenticity will benefit each community and person he touches.
To have Tony Stewart train or speak to your group or for more information on how to get involved, visit www.beyondthelocker.com