National Football League (NFL) player Joe Barksdale is becoming part of the community at an elementary school in West Bloomfield.
Students at Pleasant Lake Elementary (PLE) have welcomed Barksdale, a Detroit native and offensive tackle with the St. Louis Rams, as a volunteer through his Uplift 72 foundation. According to a Walled Lake Consolidated Schools press release, Uplift 72's mission is "to afford youth greater personal and professional opportunities by focusing on development in three key areas: Academics, Athletics, and Community Service."
Barksdale volunteers six hours each week, helping students with academics, working in one-on-one and small group settings, and forming his own mentor group at the school. He has worked closely with PLE teachers and social workers on the necessary training and has been a huge asset to the instruction of the students at the school, according to the release.
His work centers on preparing students for the transitions they face throughout life, from elementary school to middle school to high school and beyond.
A Cass Technical High School graduate, Barksdale attended Louisiana State University, where he played on football team and studied Pre-Law.
“The staff and students at Pleasant Lake Elementary are excited to have Mr. Barksdale working with our students each week," Nayal Maktari, Pleasant Lake Elementary principal, said. "We feel fortunate for the opportunity we have been provided and look forward to having Mr. Barksdale become a part of the Pleasant Lake Elementary School community.”