My name is Tailon Leitzsey and I am the founder of the Leitzsey Family Foundation. I wanted to find ways to best serve those around me and as a leader, Division I Football student-athlete, and father, I quickly understood the platform and opportunity I had in front of me. To make a difference while still being in the spotlight. This stems from a passion my family has for serving others and my aspiration to make positive contributions to the community around me.
Since I was young, I always volunteered with youth camps, worked at daycares, or worked in different capacities that serviced my community. My parents would take my family and me to community outreach events during the holidays, which fostered my passion for helping people. This led into a moment in my life where I vowed to make sure I would always be in a position to give back. After my freshmen year of college I encountered various obstacles that pushed me to the decision to transfer to the University of Illinois. In my pursuit of this, I moved back to my parents' home in South Carolina. It was here that I became determined to make my dreams come true of playing Division I Football. I had multiple jobs to save money before my departure to Illinois and in one of my jobs, I was a dish washer and required to purchase a specific shoe. At this time in my life I only had $28 to my name, and of course when I rang up the shoes I needed at the store, the total was exactly $28. As I left the store in my car I pulled up to a stop sign and saw a man standing with his pregnant wife and two young children, asking for money due to a recent eviction. In this moment I came to tears and offered them the water I had in my car, as that was all I had to give. As I drove off I cried the entire ride home and vowed to myself that I would never be in a position where I could not help someone in need ever again.
Since this day, I have tried my best to find and use opportunities to serve, educate, and empower others to go after their dreams. I hope through this foundation we are able to touch many lives and change many situations for the better together.