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Community Highlights: Meet Reggie Foster II of Champs Up!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Reggie Foster II.

Hi Reggie, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve always had a dream of achieving greatness, even if as a kid I didn’t know what that meant. I started playing football in Pop Warner at the age of six, and by the eighth grade, that dream turned into playing professionally in the NFL.

My love for football just grew, and I began to learn everything about the sport. I spent hours studying the best athletes in the game, watching documentaries and training hard.

When I didn’t have access to equipment or cones, I remember practicing alone at the park across from where I was living. I’d even imagine the trees were my opponents on the field to develop my techniques.

My dedication to football became even more serious during my time at Millikan High school. Growing up in a low-income area of Long Beach, 90s culture and hip hop lit a fire inside and brought the competitor out of me.

Knowing the discipline and focus needed to achieve this goal I set, I had to make boundaries for myself. Being in an environment with gangs and violence was more common than not, and it was attractive, especially because that was the way of life for most of my friends.

Having this goal helped keep me from going too deep on a path toward gang involvement since I was so focused on doing what I had to do to make my dream come true. I also realize now that having my father consistently present in my life for support was instrumental in setting the foundation and values I have today.

After high school, I went to the University of Colorado to pursue that dream. College was “like whatever” to me – something that just came with the territory and process to get to the NFL. I wasn’t a bad student, but my mindset wasn’t focused on the education aspect at the time.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), fewer than 2% of NCAA student-athletes go on to be professional athletes. Even with as hard as I worked and dedicated myself to this life goal, unfortunately, I was not part of this two percent.

In the years that followed, I worked a number of day jobs but couldn’t find something that spoke to my soul. I then started actively taking in content from Eric Thomas, Gary Vaynerchuk and other people who have created the life they want for themselves, despite all the adversity.

Realizing football was the only real goal I’d set for myself, I took some time to really learn more about who I was, what I wanted to do with my life and the kind of impact I wanted to make.

Upon completing several self-development courses and an enlightening trip to India, I understood the importance of nurturing my emotional intelligence and character over just my talents.

In 2018, I formed Champs Up! with the intention of building a movement with high value for self-awareness, development and discovery. My path now has been heavily influenced not just by sheer determination but the manifestation of never giving up on my dreams.

I’m proud to lead by example through my own transformation and dedication to continually work on myself. Champs up, go to work! Champs up, get money!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not making it to the NFL was already a tough blow to my confidence and ego, but also had a deep effect on my family. My wife and son were counting on me and I failed.

How was I supposed to “be a man” if I couldn’t provide for my family? I felt embarrassed, disappointed and angry with myself.

My lowest point was when my son and I had to move back in with my pops, and we were sleeping in twin-sized beds right across from each other.

Although life kept throwing things at me, I found my own thoughts were the biggest obstacle. I continued to learn how to be more mindful of persevering and adjusting, despite everything happening that was out of my control.

Instead, I decided to focus on what I could control – my thoughts and actions. The more I explored the spiritual and emotional sides of me, I started to craft a new and more authentic vision for myself.

Through all my experiences and research, I’ve found 22 vital principles I believe are the blueprint for creating the life one seeks to have. It’s now become my mission to share these principles and guide others to achieving their greatest potential.

I became disciplined in learning the craft of public speaking, even though this wasn’t my strongest skill. I would talk to myself in the mirror for hours until I felt confident about how I was presenting.

Now with building Champs Up! and Champs Up! University, I’m looking to partner with schools, organizations, brands, individuals, and programs who most align with these values.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Champs Up! is a movement that prioritizes the value of emotional intelligence (EQ) and normalizes active self-development. Digging deep into the roots of our local communities, we foster cultured mindsets where people feel free to create their own blueprint for victory.

Noticing a lack of consistent and genuine guidance within inner city areas, we started a social-emotional learning (SEL) program for middle school aged youth and up in 2020 called Champs Up! University.

With online and hybrid options available, the program consists of 25 video modules, real-life problem-solving scenarios, and our 22 Principles to Victory workbook to help our students develop from survival to a growth mindset.

Champs Up University was created with the hopes participants gain a sense of clarity about their dreams, goals and aspirations in life. Once identified, we work to build their inner strength to confidently live the lives they truly want.

Our goal is to build a support system and provide a deeper level of mentorship so our community can approach life with a greater self-esteem.

Current partners include: University Pathways High School, KIPP Academy of Opportunity, Long Beach Unified School District and Chosen 1 Foundation.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
One of my favorite childhood memories is when I was six years old. We were living on Andy Street in Long Beach, and there was a loud noise through the house. My mom woke me up, grabbed the knife from her bed and told me to stay close to her as we walked down the stairs.

Moms thought someone broke in, but the noise was actually because the downstairs blinds had fallen down. It was too funny! But we lived in the hood, so we had to take precautionary measures.

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