Building Baltimore Neighborhoods & Creating Communities…
Carpenter’s House – This is absolutely his HOUSE!
FORMER ATLANTA FALCON KEION CARPENTER is weaving parts of the fabric of Baltimore that are about community and EMPOWERMENT
By: Stefany J.
HMM: What was family life like growing up and who was the most influential person in your life?
Keion Carpenter: I grew up in a single parent household with a lot of love and my mother was then and still is now, the most influential person in my life. She raised me by herself with the help of my grandparents until she married my step dad when I was 14.
She’s the strongest and most powerful person I know. I saw her work 2 and 3 jobs at a time just to provide the best living situations for us that she possibly could. Her drive was like no other. That’s what encouraged me to want to do something positive with my life: using sports to get a free education. It would ultimately also bless me to be able to play 8 years professionally in the NFL.
I couldn’t begin to really pay her back for everything she’s done for me in my life, but I can certainly pay her back a little bit by how I choose to live my life. By walking in God’s purpose for my life and using the platform of the NFL to help and give back, and try to raise the levels of these children is a small part.
I want to give children hope and empower the single parents of the low-income families I’m trying to assist through my work and non-profit foundation CARPENTER’s HOUSE.
HMM: What words of advice would you give to other single mothers?
Keion Carpenter: To always be there for their children. Always make time for your children in spite of any other obligations you may have. Those are the moments children remember, not the things you buy them but the sacrifices that were made for them and time spent.
HMM: What are you most thankful for?
Keion Carpenter: One thing I’m most thankful for having growing up is my foundation in God. My mom and grand-parents provided that foundation at a young age. Back then my grand-parents would drag me to church. We would be in church from 8am to 9 at night. It was so prevalent in my home, I was able to grow up in the Lord and get my own personal relationship with Him.
HMM: Being in athletics and pro-sports, how did you deal with peer pressure?
Keion Carpenter: My relationship with God definitely helped me to maneuver and deal with peer pressure. Of course I made mistakes growing up like anyone else, but they were never detrimental to my life or my family. I also had friends around who really cared about me and enough so that they shielded me from things that were not part of my character and would tell me to go ahead about my business. Even during those times when I strayed away, I always found my way back to my foundation and upbringing.
HMM: What is a moment when you were most disappointed in your life and how did you overcome it and handle the adversity?
Keion Carpenter: When my name didn’t get called in the draft, I was very discouraged. It could have changed everything but I didn’t allow it to. I had a never quit or die attitude. God had a special plan for my life and that was a test of my faith. Did I really believe this was for me? And if so, then I needed to go get it. Buffalo Bills gave me my shot. I came on un-drafted and after the first year I made the team and after the second I made the starting lineup. I was a starter every year in the NFL from that time forward. That was a huge blessings. There are some who get drafted who never start. I learned it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.
HMM: Tell us about Carpenter’s House.
Keion Carpenter: Growing up, I remember my mother being a very hard worker and always wanting her to have her own home. I started Carpenter’s House to help others. I wanted to offer financial literacy education, loss prevention assistance and other tools to help sustain families once they are in those homes. If I can help to rebuild neighborhoods in Baltimore, if I can help educate some of our people on the importance of financial literacy and encourage them to be homeowners, if I can make these homes affordable for them to be able to buy, if I can help put recreation centers back in place, if I have helped to re- establish the sense of community; then I have reached my goals.