Chargers’ Corey Linsley advocates for children through CASA originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Los Angeles Chargers center Corey Linsley is known for much more than his prowess on the field. The 31-year-old Ohio native spends his free time giving back to the community, specifically for children in need.
Linsely has been working tirelessly to give back to his community, despite only joining the Los Angeles team in March of 2021. In fact, the center valued philanthropy way before he made the move to the West Coast.
“Bringing awareness to the situation can open eyes up all across the community and all across the country,” Linsley said in an interview with NBC.
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While still in Wisconsin as a Green Bay Packer, Linsley and his wife Anna began their work with CASA Brown County. Both Corey and Anna became certified advocates and have worked with CASA L.A. and CASA OC.
CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, is an association that brings together volunteers and children. The volunteers advocate for the best interests of children who do not have the ability to speak for themselves. Many of the children involved are disadvantaged, usually either living in foster care, or facing abuse and neglect.
The volunteer-based nonprofit organization trains and supports citizens to advocate on the behalf of children under court protection until they are safe in their living environments.
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“It's a one on one model. A volunteer will theoretically see the child through their time in the foster care system,” said Matthew Wadlinger, Chief Strategy Officer for CASA of Orange County.
“They can't testify for themselves in court because they're too young,” Linsley explained. “So that's essentially what the advocate does, is that, again, the voice of the child in the courtroom, making sure that their needs and their feelings and how everything's going is known by the judge and obviously by everybody else.”
Corey and Anna began helping out of the goodness of their heart, and continued their efforts because they knew this was where they were meant to be.
“They're looking for trust and a consistent presence from an adult. And that's that's really what it's all about, because a lot of these kids, it's not every case, but a lot of these kids don't have that in their life. And just having that, again, consistent presence, you know, it means the world to them and can change their life.”
“It opened up our eyes to this area of life that fortunately my wife and I were not ever really a part of,” he added.
The Linsleys’ advocacy didn’t stop when they made the move from Wisconsin to Los Angeles. In L.A. County specifically, which Corey and Anna have been involved with, 30,000 kids are under the jurisdiction of the Dependency Court.
The couples’ persistence has driven others to do the same.
“Corey and his wife Anna's support of the case organization has been huge. And we literally will see it on our referrals of people that are interested in becoming volunteers,” Wadlinger said. “What Corey has been able to offer us has been really, really helpful in recruiting volunteers, as well as helping to raise awareness of all of this in our fundraising efforts as well.”
The philanthropic drive started early for Corey, before he even stepped foot onto an NFL field. Back in college at Ohio State, he was inspired by his coach Woody Hayes, who always reminded his players to “pay it forward.”
“You can always pay it forward,” Corey said. “And so that's kind of been a mantra that, you know, I feel like all of us that went through at Ohio State, it's something that we've you know, we've kind of tried to live by.”
To Corey, the most rewarding part of it all is seeing the kids graduate from the system.
“That part is really cool because obviously you can see the difference that the advocate that they had made in their life and now they know what it looks like to be in a trusting family, in a trusting environment. And, you know, they know how to make something of themselves,” he said.
“The impression that I want to leave is that we contributed to making a difference.”
And the superstar center is doing exactly that.
Corey was drafted by the Packers in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. In March 2021, he signed a five-year, $62.5 million contract with the Chargers, which made him the then-highest-paid center in the NFL.
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