Prior to his days on the football field in the NFL, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz spent his days around Paterson. When he’s off the field, Cruz goes back to his roots and helps out his hometown Boys and Girls Club. He told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider it’s an amazing opportunity to go back to the place he grew up.
“It’s amazing to come back to my hometown of Paterson, N.J., a place where I grew up in the Boys and Girls Club,” said Cruz. “To be able to give back in such a monumental way to these kids and this city, gives me a great deal of pleasure to be here.”
Cruz’s foundation, the MetLife Foundation, JP Morgan Chase and the Snowflake Fund have partnered up to donate $500,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic to make repairs to the aquatic area and swimming pool of the club. Cruz’s foundation is also creating a campaign for computers for the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.
Growing up in Paterson, Cruz used to go to the Boys and Girls Club, which he said gave him a sense of ownership. Spending time at the Boys and Girls Club taught him structure and allowed him to do things in a positive way, he explained.
Within sports, athletes are seen as role models for kids, an idea Cruz says he embraces.
“Whether we want to be role models or not, we have to be able to understand that kids are watching us and we are role models,” said Cruz. “I myself just like to embrace that, embrace that aspect of it and be able to try to change these kids’ perception of what the typical athlete may be and provide them with a positive outlook on life and allow them to see life through my eyes and what I go through and look at it through a more positive scope.”
Growing up in Paterson and having made a career with the Giants in the NFL, Cruz describes his family as the key to his success. He also attributes his coaching staff along with his family as the people who helped him keep focus on his goal.
As for his secret to success, Cruz says it’s to make short-term and long-term goals and to maintain focus.
On the field with the Giants, Cruz sees Head Coach Tom Coughlin as the key to success on the field and from there onto the team captains.
“I think the biggest key is our coach,” said Cruz. “Coach Coughlin has done a great job of keeping our mindsets into it and not letting us go astray. Even when we were 0-6 he never let us stray away from what we were doing, from what the goal was and that’s making the playoffs and we just follow that. Then it all trickled down to our captains and to young leaders on the team like myself to continue to instill in all of our teammates. Let them know that this season is far from over and we still have some work to do.”