LOCAL NEWS

Former Seahawk Doug Baldwin goes all in on community after retirement

Aug 29, 2019, 10:53 AM | Updated: 2:04 pm

With football in the rear view mirror, former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin is going all in on a community project in Renton, called Family First Community Center.

Gee: How Doug Baldwin changed my life and influenced my family

“Family First is built upon the premise that when you walk through the doors families will be treated like human beings,” Baldwin told KIRO Radio. “Kids will be recognized as individuals who are seen, heard, and loved unconditionally.”

The recently-retired Seahawk has been working with the City of Renton for over five years on this project. But the idea goes further back than that — according to Baldwin, the idea sprouted years ago growing up as a kid in Florida, where he spent time at the Southern Youth Sports Association.

Baldwin describes the Southern Youth Sports Association as his second home. More than that, it was a place that welcomed neighborhood kids from all socioeconomic backgrounds, much like the Cascade area of Renton where the Family First Community Center will be built.

The Cascade community is 25 percent of the Renton population. Twelve percent lives below the poverty line, and 20 percent is 14 years or younger.

When Baldwin was a kid, the Southern Youth Sports Association was vital to his development.

“It was more than just a physical location with resources and services,” he said. “It was about the people who created an environment where I was safe and free to be a kid, and really explore who I was at a very young age.”

These happy memories resurfaced when Baldwin landed in Seattle in 2011 as a rookie, and moved to Renton’s Cascade area. At his favorite teriyaki restaurant in the neighborhood — also a hub in the community for kids — a common topic of conversation surrounded a lack a places children could call their own to hang out and play.

So, he reached out to the city of Renton about his idea to bring a community center to this neighborhood.

As it turns out, Baldwin’s wing-man in this endeavor has been Renton Mayor Denis Law, who has been critical to the project.

“I am incredibly grateful and blessed to be working with this mayor because he has a genuine care and passion about the people he serves,” Baldwin said.

After spending some time with Baldwin, it was clear to Mayor Law that he had a passion for kids. That made moving forward with the project a no-brainer.

“I thought, ‘What better combination could you have to go out and start thinking about how do we make this happen,’ because it will literally change the lives of kids and families in this area,” Law said.

Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin calls for bail reform

Over the last five years, they’ve been building off the $1 million dollars that Baldwin donated to the project. They’ve come up with $10 million through additional private and public donations. They still need another $5 million to complete the center.

Despite being short of that goal right now, they are moving forward with the project.

For Baldwin, the Family First Center is more than just a place for kids to hang out.

“This is a societal issue,” Baldwin said. “We’re seeing it play out more and more where people aren’t recognized as human beings. This facility will address that issue by creating a safe space for people to be creative, explore, and be curious because when you do that the possibilities are endless.”

As to any regret that he won’t be dressing up this season as a Seahawk, Baldwin’s grateful for his experiences, and feels blessed to have come to the Seahawks’ at a time when he was able to be a part of a winning culture.

“Winning a Superbowl was amazing, but time waits for nobody,” Baldwin said. “And I only have a limited time to do the things I want to do now in life.”

The center will break ground in February 2020 on land donated by the Renton School District. They hope to open doors to the community in 2021.

If you want to donate head to the Renton Foundation website here.

Local News

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Pierce County deputies investigating death of 11-year-old

Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies said they were investigating the death of an 11-year-old girl in Midland, WA.
15 hours ago
Gee Ursula One Seattle...
KIRO Newsradio staff

Thousands of volunteers give back to the community for One Seattle Day

Thousands of volunteers gave back to the community on Saturday for One Seattle Day, including KIRO Newsradio's own Gee and Ursula Show.
15 hours ago
(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)...
Frank Sumrall

Mayor’s search for permanent Police Chief looms over Seattle amid depleting law enforcement numbers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell recently consulted with a hiring firm as the decision to choose the next Chief of Police heats up.
3 days ago
Seattle Sun...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Sunny skies, warm temperatures forecast for western Washington this weekend

Sunny skies and warm temperatures are forecast for much of western Washington, with some areas expected to reach temps in the 70s.
3 days ago
Student STEM...
Nicole Jennings

From athletes to mathletes: STEM Signing Day shines light on WA scholars

STEM Signing Day gives stellar science, technology, engineering, and math scholars a chance to shine in the same way as high school athletes.
3 days ago
Prison 900x506...
MyNorthwest Staff

Governor Inslee cancels parole determination for triple murderer

Governor Inslee has cancelled an order that granted parole to Timothy Pauley, who had been incarcerated for three counts of first degree murder in 1981.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Former Seahawk Doug Baldwin goes all in on community after retirement