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2MAD: Former LSU football player 'Honey Badger' Tyrann Mathieu mentoring, motivating Louisiana's youth

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BATON ROUGE- Former LSU football player Tyrann Mathieu, known as the "Honey Badger," is putting in the overtime off of the field to make a difference.

The current Kansas City Chiefs' safety is mentoring the youth of Baton Rouge and surrounding areas virtually. On Tuesday, Aug. 18, the star will host another group discussion.

"The Shift" which was created by Truce, which is a two-year-old program that partners with law enforcement and the district attorney's office in Baton Rouge. The program deals with troubled teens who are trying to shift their lives back on to the right track or youth looking for leadership.

"I think having a program like this in Baton Rouge and New Orleans gives the kids an opportunity to come somewhere and express themselves with positive people, with their peers. People who are going through some of the same struggles, same experiences that they're going through," Mathieu said.

For those who were unable to participate in the previous series with the star football player, he will be hosting another discussion series on Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. The time was changed to accommodate the majority of participants who are back in school.

The executive director of Truce, Aishala Burgess, says "The Shift" has given those in need of advice or a role model the chance to have a positive involvement in their lives.

"You can ask him [Mathieu] those tough questions that you may not be able to ask someone who has never experienced that," Burgess said.

Burgess says they have about 25 youngsters on each video call twice per month and they are able to talk for about 45 minutes. 

The kids ask Mathieu a wide range of questions about any and everything from video games to making good choices.

"Some of them ask them when you're faced with peer pressure or, 'I'm with my friends and they're using drugs, what is your new motivation to not engage in that behavior' and 'what is it that I can do to stay motivated when everything around me seems to be negative'," Burgess said.

Mathieu says a lot of children in the inner city grow up and express themselves through violence and "other behaviors." 

"I think myself, being who I am today, I'm able to share my own experiences and kind of give them an opportunity to see it up close," Mathieu said. "I think this program is working well for the kids. We're constantly growing, constantly getting into deeper conversations, and that's what you want and look forward to."

Burgess says the program allows participants to believe in themselves and each other. 

Those interested in registering for the program can do so by clicking here.

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