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Quinn, Witherspoon Aid Youth On Eight-Day Visit to Africa

Posted Apr 22, 2014

Robert Quinn and Will Witherspoon recently returned from an eight-day trip to Africa with Pros Strike for Africa and the Starkey Foundation.

 

 

While the Rams players soak in their final days of the offseason prior to next Monday’s opening of the offseason program, defensive end Robert Quinn has followed up his record-breaking 2013 season by continuing to contribute off the field.

Joining forces with Pros Strike for Africa and the Starkey Foundation, Quinn and teammate Will Witherspoon recently spent eight days visiting a multitude of African villages, where they fitted children with hearing aids and experienced the culture.

While the experience was geared toward assisting others in need, Quinn spoke of his week-plus in Africa as the one who perhaps benefited the most. In addition to serving youth for his first five days in eastern Africa, Quinn visited with members of the Maasai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania, before exploring more of the continent on a three-day safari.

“It was definitely a surreal experience for me,” Quinn said. “Going back to the motherland, it’s a humbling experience. You step on the ground wherever you go to in Africa, and it hits you in a special way. Just from simple things like having clean water and turning on a faucet instead of having to go to a river . Some places you go, it makes you appreciate what you have and not take things for granted. It made you really appreciate what you have, and look at life differently.”

Pros Strike for Africa is an Oklahoma City-based organization dedicated to facilitating assistance for African children through the contributions and efforts of professionals in a variety of areas.

The Starkey Foundation is an international organization committed to providing hearing assistance for underprivileged youth.

The Starkey Foundation and Pros Strike for Africa have a strong history of helping professional athletes become involved in the works of their respective organizations. Quinn’s interest in serving African youth was piqued in part by San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who had previous experience with the two organizations. The location was determined by the Starkey Foundation, which has served 19 different African countries.

“The organization is geared toward professionals of all fields, but we ran into a lot of NFL players who had a dream to go to Africa,” said Bill Horn, co-founder of Pros Strike for Africa.  “This year, we were blessed with the opportunity to have Robert Quinn and Will Witherspoon from the St. Louis Rams join us, and I think it’s been a life-changing experience for them.”

Together, Quinn and Witherspoon gained an experience unlike any they had received previously. With oceans and continents separating him from the fanfare and notoriety of being a professional athlete in the United States, Quinn gained the opportunity to experience the culture of Eastern Africa viewed as something of a commoner.

“When you’re out there, you’re not used to living that way, so you have to adjust, but it’s a real neat experience,” Quinn said. “Meeting the kids in the villages, or going on a safari, it makes you take everything into perspective in how you live your everyday life.”

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