Taking care of those you love with deep roots in Houston
interview by Tonya Kerr
A southerner with a smile and a giant heart is how most everyone describes Houston Texans’ cornerback, Kareem Jackson. He was born in Georgia, played college ball for the Crimson Tide, and was a first-round draft pick in 2010 by the Houston Texans.
Jackson’s NFL career in the Bayou City has seen eight years of success with more to come. Behind the scenes, he’s a family man through and through. After shouldering bouts of cancer with his mom and sister, he vowed to make a difference by creating The Kareem Jackson Foundation where he’s helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Houston families.
Jackson married his wife, Amber, a Houstonian, and together they started their own Houston family two years ago with the birth of their daughter, Kaylen, and her baby sister, Kenzie.
Juggling an NFL career, a successful foundation and fatherhood keeps you on your toes, but you say your dad taught you to take care of those you love. How important was your dad’s influence?
Really important, just to keep me on the right path, teach me things as a man that mom couldn’t teach me. I think it’s important for kids to have that father figure in their life. There’s things men go through that women don’t necessarily have to go through. My dad was able to shine some light on those unique situations and teach me things that he went through growing up that I would encounter as a man, as a father, he showed me the way.
What do you hope to pass along to your children about sports, perseverance and “success?”
When it comes to sports, obviously, hard work. Putting in the time and the work to be successful in whatever sport my kids decide to pursue. If they want to be great, it takes alot of hours outside of practice and time with coaches. It’s all about dedication and perseverance.
I hope I can teach them to continue to stay true to themselves while they chase the goals they set for themselves, no matter what it is. I had to take the long road to get to college and the NFL. I had to stay focused on my goals to get there.Then, once you reach your goals, you need to learn to deal with the success. Understanding the work doesn’t stop there. You have to continue to strive to stay on top.
Success is tricky because you have to learn how to deal with success. Not getting too high or too low because when you reach success it doesn’t just stop there you have to continue to work to continue to stay on top and be successful.
What does it mean to you to be raising your family in Houston, TX?
It means a lot. With my wife being from Houston, its great having her family here. My daughter gets to be around them every chance she gets. Houston was also the first team I was drafted to, so being able to call it home is special. Houston is a great city, with a ton of opportunity, great schools, its just an all- around a great place to start a family and raise kids. Houston is a special place and I’m looking forward to finishing my career here and spending my life here.
You also inspire Houston families off the field with your work for The Kareem Jackson Foundation. Tell everyone what you do and why the mission hits close to home.
Off the field, I’m very involved in my charity, The Kareem Jackson Foundation. We do great work to provide families with seriously and chronically ill children with daily encouragement and life-changing experiences. Honoring and supporting women who are battling and those who have achieved victory over breast cancer. This is a very special cause to me because my mom is a 2X breast cancer survivor and my sister is a Leukemia survivor, so I know first-hand what a toll this can take on a family.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Kareem Jackson Foundation, visit: www.kareemjackson.org