DES MOINES, Iowa — Thousands of fourth and fifth graders filled Hy-Vee Hall on Tuesday for the Exercising Your Character Program.
They heard from celebrities and role models about how they can fulfill their dreams.
“Sometimes we don’t always have that in our lives and for these people to come and talk to our kids, it’s a great opportunity,” Oskaloosa Elementary School teacher Jan Vanwaardhuizen said.
Superhero characters, cooking show stars and athletes all made appearances.
One fifth grader said the most inspiring athlete out of all the speakers was Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“He’s a new player on the team. He’s strong. I think he’s better than Alex Smith. He just inspires me because I want to be a quarterback, wide receiver, and to be able to throw those types of balls is insane,” Oskaloosa elementary student Owen Wagner said.
Mahomes said it is very important to him to be a good role model, just like his father was as a professional baseball player.
“I got to see it all growing up when my dad played professional baseball. Everything that those guys that were in that locker room with him told me I remember to this day. And so for them and for me to kind of do that for other kids, I have a little sister that is seven years old, so I know how much of an impact it is in their lives at that age. So I am excited that I was able to talk to them and tried to give them whatever motivation they need in order to go out there and live their dreams and fulfill them,” Mahomes said.
Mahomes said he hopes to continue doing that through a new partnership with Hy-Vee and his new foundation called “15 and the Mahomies.”
“I want to find ways that I can support kids and in areas all around the country get them active, get them the opportunities they need in order to have a healthy body and live out a great and fulfilling life,” Mahomes said.
Hy-Vee representatives said customers will be seeing a lot more of Mahomes around stores and as a part of community outreach initiatives.