Washington Redskins wide receiver Brandon Lloyd spent this past weekend in the Cayman Islands and while his initial reason for the visit was the NFL’s 17th annual Quarterback Challenge, what he got out of the trip was much bigger than football.
What Lloyd got, was the chance to spend time with the children of the Stay-Focused group. When asked to describe the non-profit organization, founder and President Roger Muller said, “Stay-Focused offers teens and young adults with physical disabilities, many of whom use wheelchairs, the opportunity to become certified SCUBA divers and through that experience to learn lasting lessons about overcoming challenges and achieving personal goals.”
This mission statement made an impact on Brandon Lloyd. Of the opportunity to get involved with this cause, Lloyd said, “I’m continually searching for opportunities to get involved with kids so when the people from Stay-Focused approached me about this, I jumped at the chance. It really worked out so well that I was able to do something so rewarding with my free time while in the Caymans for the Quarterback Challenge.”
The program these young adults participate in consists of 6 days in which they not only earn their SCUBA certification, but learn much more. Stay-Focused holds workshops and academic sessions that help these kids relate real-life challenges to the challenges they must overcome under water. Everyone that goes through the program then becomes part of a huge network of others who share their love for diving.
Lloyd himself has never been diving, but he couldn’t pass up the chance to work with Stay-Focused: “I saw this as an opportunity to be involved with something that I wouldn’t normally do. I’ve always been interested in deep sea diving, but when it comes down to going under the water, they are much braver than I am.”
One factor that has helped develop this desire to be involved in helping children is being a father. Lloyd has a 1 year old son, and another child that should be welcomed into the world any day now, and it has admittedly changed his perspective a little bit.
“Being a father now makes me understand how precious life really is,” Lloyd opined, continuing, “Life is a real delicate thing and I’m blessed to be in a position in which people see me as someone who can make a difference in their lives. To me it is a no-brainer to take some time out of my day to help.”
According to Muller, things went well: “Brandon joined Ryan Chalmers (18) and Jackie Cimino (20), both certified divers through the Stay-Focused program, in learning about confined water skills in the pool at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman and on a dive sponsored by Red Sail Sports. Brandon’s an excellent role model for these two young adults and learned a lot from the experience himself.”
As for B. Lloyd, when asked how things went, he said, “It went great! It was more than I expected. Ryan and Jackie had an awesome sense of humor and personalities that were out of this world. They really brightened my day and gave me inspiration to do greater things. They have major set backs in life and they are still striving to do bigger and better things and they gave me hope that I can accomplish more too.”
Both Lloyd and Muller have expressed an interest in a continued relationship between the two parties. The lessons learned for Lloyd and the benefit the participants receive make this a win-win situation for both sides, and on a more selfish note for Redskins’ fans, the desire to do more could be a sign of bigger and better things this season from Brandon Lloyd and the Washington Redskins.
Editor’s Note: Stay-Focused was inspired by Bobby Muller, the older brother of Founder/President Roger Muller, who is a paraplegic Vietnam War Marine combat veteran. Bobby became a certified diver in 1998, which motivated Roger to become certified as well. On a dive boat in Grand Cayman, BWI, in December 2000, while diving together, Roger decided to start a nonprofit organization that would offer teens with disabilities the opportunity to become divers and enjoy the freedom and buoyancy provided by the water.
Stay-Focused holds these retreats three times a year. Inquiries about Stay-Focused should be directed to Roger Muller at: roger (at) stay-focused.org. Contributions are always welcome for this early-stage, nonprofit organization. Checks should be made payable to Stay-Focused and sent to Roger Muller at the address below.
245 East 44th Street, Suite 22B
New York, New York 10017
Phone: 212 551 6756
Fax: 212 551 6037
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey