The 1+1=U program began out of the care and compassion of its first student, CJ Spillman, who at the time was Central High School junior. CJ was a very athletic football player with great chances of going pro. Everyone at Central recognized the potential in this young man, but few had faith he would excel at anything because of his attitude and lack of overall enthusiasm.
1+1=U began working with CJ after teachers and coaches had given up on his ability to perform and succeed in classes. It was a chorus teacher who introduced CJ to Margaret, and Margaret allowed him to be a student aid in her classroom. Soon after, CJ became a positive influence for the students in Margaret’s special education class. 1+1=U engaged in several discussions with CJ about life, going to class and making sure he understood the consequences of his own actions. And not unlike many students working towards a goal, there were minor setbacks. CJ would sometimes leave school during the day, not realizing that college recruiters were coming to visit him. 1+1=U called and located CJ via his cell phone and asked that he immediately return to school. He always listened.
Trust Opens the Doors of Encouragement
During his senior year of high school, CJ and his mom both decided that he needed to go to a military academy. 1+1=U drove him to Hargrave Military Academy to visit the campus and Central Football Coach Steve Serotte drove him to Fort Union Military Academy, both in the same week. CJ chose Fort Union, and not long after began making big impressions on the coaching staff. He quickly began to improve in academics, developed self discipline, set goals and began to respect himself and others. Though CJ was miles away from home, 1+1=U remained just a phone call away, ready to assist with anything he needed. Shortly after, CJ signed with Marshall University with support from his mom, sister and 1+1=U.
After Marshall University, he participated in the NFL Combine and signed as a free agent with San Diego Chargers. CJ Spillman currently plays for the San Francisco 49ers. Now he is giving back to the program and his community by having a football camp for those kids who cannot afford to pay for camp. Play it forward and pay it back became the new motto. 1+1=U never asked for any money but just that CJ reach back and pull another kid up like him. Now he is successfully pursuing a great career and giving back to others the same way that 1+1=U gave him a chance.