Good Sports: Former NFL player to open charter school for Fresno's youth

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Edison High grad Robert Golden hung up his cleats two years ago after a seven-year career in the NFL.

"It kind of just got to the point where I was like, 'Man, I want to come back to my hometown and help do something bigger than me for the kids.' That's when I asked the Kansas City Chiefs to release me so I can come back home and start this school."

The former safety envisions the Golden Charter Academy to be the Disneyland of schools. The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is the founding partner and will serve an extension of the classroom.

"The Pittsburgh Steelers gave us a letter of support to do this school, the NFL has provided us with the social justice grant that they are doing this year," he said.

Place-based education allows the students to still be in class while they are on zoo grounds. A state of the art facility is in the works to be built directly across from the zoo.

Until the project is complete, the Golden Charter will open at a temporary location nearby. The school will open as K-3 and grow each year until they reach the 8th grade.

"We are just looking to bring something special to Fresno, change the paradigm of education and give our kids a real shot at having a bright future," Golden said.

The 30-year-old hopes to expose the kids to career paths that they can engage in and not just rely on sports.

"At the end of the day, sports to come to an end," he said. "When you think of the statistics of becoming an NFL player, it's less than 1% of athletes that make it in the nation, so a lot of guys don't get that opportunity to make it to NFL, or to the NBA."

A unique education experience that hopes to inspire Fresno's youth to become the next doctor, architect or even zoo keeper.
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