FEATURED: Shaun Nixon
Nov. 8, 2017
This feature article originally appeared in the TCU Gameday Program, which is free to all fans at each TCU football home game. Each week, GoFrogs.com will publish the features from the previous edition of the TCU Gameday Program.
by Kayla Avery, TCU Athletics Communications Intern
Shaun Nixon has always had a passion for helping others ever since he was young. A native of Austin, Texas, he came to TCU with a feeling of belonging and motivation to inspire.
“As I journeyed off to college, I went through my ups and downs, with injuries, playing football and things like that,” said Nixon. “I started to seek something that was better than myself, and that was the community.”
After coming to TCU, he began getting involved with the S.P.A.R.K organization. TCU S.P.A.R.K., which stands for “Strong Players Are Reaching Kids,” was founded as a way for student-athletes to motivate local youth about the importance of education and reaching back to their community.
Former TCU student-athlete and 2017 Rhodes Scholar Caylin Moore helped to construct the program. When Moore left, he passed his experience and leadership ideas from S.P.A.R.K. to Nixon and fellow teammate and S.P.A.R.K. president Michael Carroll.
S.P.A.R.K. is a program where student-athletes go out into the community and speak about their experiences in life at schools, youth football practices and other events or organizations. Their goal is to inspire youth to rise above their circumstances and build a path to success, and also spark a change in youth and their communities.
Nixon also gives back by helping feed the homeless. Nixon and Carroll use their own money to set up events and buy food for those in need. Even if it is just grabbing some items from the local grocery store, they make sure that they can contribute something to the community.
Their next big move? A block party for the homeless. Expect music, grilling and a great time.
A sociology major, Nixon sometimes finds it difficult to keep up with his studies, football and S.P.A.R.K. duties, but he works hard to ensure that he takes care of business in the classroom, on the field and in the community.
“We get out of practice at about 7, and we’re in the library brainstorming all day, trying to study for our classes and stay ahead,” said Nixon of his and Carroll’s day-to-day undertakings.
Fellow TCU football players are supportive of the program and help out from time to time.
“It’s been great to have people like Kenny Hill, Ty Summers, Ben Banogu and a lot of players on the team come out and help us inspire kids,” said Nixon. “We work together as if we’re one. The whole goal is to inspire the youth.”
After being out with an injury this past year, Nixon was able to become even more involved with S.P.A.R.K. as he worked to get back on the field.
When Nixon changed his mind at the last minute and decided to come to TCU, assistant coach Chad Glasgow had a big part in his decision.
“It felt like I should be here,” said Nixon when he remembered his first visit to TCU. As for his decision now, he wouldn’t change a thing. He believes TCU is a great place to get an education.
“It’s becoming diverse; it’s becoming more cultural,” said Nixon of his experience. “It is a very nice community, people here are welcoming.”
Nixon will continue helping out with S.P.A.R.K. to ensure its legacy with TCU and surrounding areas as he finishes out his college career.
In the future, Nixon also wants to get into the construction business with his father to start their own company, and he hopes to employ his family and members of his community.
Nixon will continue to give back long after his time at TCU comes to an end.
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