Most NFL players are know to be high rollers and big tippers; however, NY Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and his foundation Team 96 hosted an event, called Dining for Diplomas, which challenged that.Wilkerson and a few of his teammates, including Brandon Marshall, suited up in aprons and waited on their guest; giving them a five-star experience in support of the foundation’s scholarship fund. Guest were so thrilled by the experience and also seized the opportunity to take pictures and interact with their servers/idols.
“Team 96 stands for Togetherness, Education, Achievement, Motivation and of course 96 because it’s my number” says the Muhammad Wilkerson founder of Team 96. “And we give out thousand dollar scholarships to student-athletes in the Union County metropolitan area to encourage them to be excellent students in the classroom and continue with athletics.”
The event featured live and silent auctions which offered unique prizes such as, a trip to the NY Stock Exchange with Mo and his teammate Leonard Williams, following an exclusive dinner experience at your favorite restaurant. The auction became so intense that a guest pledged to donate $1,000 to Team 96 for every sack Mo gets against Tom Brady. Mo jokingly responded, “there’s no I in team, so you have to include my buddies over here,” he said calling out his teammates nearby.
“It was always Mo’s dream to give back to his community ever since he was a kid” says Ms. Wilkerson, Mo’s mother.
Right before Mo took the stage to express his gratitude, a heartfelt video montage played of a few recipients thanking him. Ileana, who is now enrolled at Rowan University, was especially grateful because the scholarship afforded her the opportunity to live on campus.
Mo and Team 96 particularly want the kids of the Union County metropolitan area “ to know that they can be anything they want to be; and also that a good education is key.”
Team 96 also promotes breast cancer awareness along with other NFL athletes such as Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers.