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Press Release from the JJ Watt Golf Outing

JJ Watt Foundation Receives Donation

Pepsi-Cola Madison and Walmart Team Up to Support After-School Sports Program 

Madison, WI – Pepsi-Cola Madison and Walmart announced Friday their joint donation of $40,000 to the JJ Watt Foundation, an organization that aims to provide after-school athletic opportunities for middle school students, particularly in schools where funding is limited or non-existent.

“We want to make sure kids have a safe place to go after school,” said JJ Watt, Houston Texan defensive lineman and former Wisconsin Badger.  “There are so many schools that can’t offer athletic programs simply because they don’t have the funds to purchase equipment – and that’s where we can help.”

Watt is thankful for the support of local businesses like Pepsi Cola-Madison and Walmart, who teamed up to raise funds for the Foundation by sponsoring a golf tournament.

“The golf tournament is a perfect example of corporate partners working together for a common cause – in this case the JJ Watt Foundation,” said Kevin Lemanski, Pepsi Cola-Madison. “We’re proud to support a program that will impact the lives of kids.”

“Part of Walmart’s corporate mission is to support our communities in as many ways as we can,” said Tony Moore, Market Manager for Walmart’s Madison Market.  “JJ is a great role model who positively connects with Wisconsin kids and our Badger community.”

“I want to encourage kids to dream big,” said Watts, noting that when kids participate in sports they learn valuable life skills such as discipline, accountability, confidence and teamwork.  “Anything is possible if you put in the time and effort to reach your goals.”

To learn more about the JJ Watt Foundation, visit http://jjwfoundation.org.

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JJ Watt Foundation Golf Outing

Good News Golfers and JJ Watt Fans,

We now have two foursome slots open for the upcoming JJ Watt Foundation Golf Outing that will be taking place on July 19th, 2012.
If you are interested and would like more details, please contact Connie at connie.jjwf@gmail.com or by phone at (262)-894-6362.
Hope to see you all there!
***Once again the JJ Watt Foundation would like to thank Pepsi, Wal-Mart, and all other sponsors for helping put on this wonderful event***

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Get in the Game Event

Today JJ Watt and the JJ Watt Foundation joined forces with United Health Care and the three local Boys and Girls Clubs in the Texas area to help fight childhood obesity.  The object of this event was to promote healthy living to children and get them active and eating right.  If you can start children out young with these key tips, it will be carried throughout their adult lives.

 The event was called “Get in the Game Event,” during this event 6 teams from 3 local Boys and Girls Clubs participated in a timed event where they had to work together to complete running, jumping, climbing, jumping rope and much more.  Once all teams had competed, a winner will be announced.
During this event, our foundation receive a wonderful donation for the United Health Care Group that will go to help many local children in the near future.  Along with the donation, all three participating Boys and Girls Clubs (roughly 200 children) will receive new equipment for their club location and backpacks for the children.
This event was a HUGE success and could not have been done without the help and contributions by the United Health Care Group.  Thank you again for all of your support and work putting this event together.
If you are interested in checking out more photos from todays event, check out our foundation Facebook Page.

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Thank You!!!

We would like to send out a HUGE thank you to all those who participated in the Second Annual JJ Watt Foundation 5K Run/Walk last weekend.  The turnout was wonderful.

We could not have done this event without all of the volunteers and the donors.  So, THANK YOU for your support.
A special thank you goes out to:
Gatorade
Buffalo Wild Wings
Caven Burgess
Quest Graphics
Raising the Steaks
Sara Lee
Signarama
Swing Time Mini Golf
The Wisconsin Athletic Club
Anytime Fitness- Pewaukee and Hartland
Viper Valley
Doug Henderson with the Horton Group
Dave Mack and Keystone Granite
The Butler Inn
Taylor Jannsen with Performance Max
Wildman Adventures Resort
Mr. Dino’s- Wauwatosa
Moe’s Southwest Grille
River Mill
Generations
Jersey Mikes
People’s Park
Doreen Lackowski- Dove Chocolate
Oscars
Karla Folkert
Texas Roadhouse
Casa Tequilla
Gold’s Gym
Cheane Cowle- Luxe Salon
Bullwinkles
Mary’s Five O’Clock Club
The relatives of Joe Thomas
Rodiez Running Store
Eastbay

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Justin J. Watt 2nd Annual 5K Run/Walk

The 2nd annual JJWF 5K Run/Walk will take place Saturday June 16th. Registration is from 8:00AM-10:00AM with the start time promptly at 10:00AM. The event is not held in a race format, so there will be no official timing. After the race there will be raffle winners announced.
T-Shifts will be provided for participants which is included in the registration fee of $15.00 per adult and $10.00 per child.
Participants can register at www.DBWH.org

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The Season of Giving

 It’s the season of giving, and last weekend the Houston Texans gave the city of Houston one of the best gifts ti could ever have asked for- the first AFC South Division Championship in the team’s relatively young history, and the first NFL playoff berth for the city since 1993, when the Houston Oilers won the AFC Central division Title.
But this past Tuesday, fresh off that historic win at Cincinnati, the Texans rookie class- including recent hero T.J Yates, and defensive powerhouses J.J Watt and Brooks Reed- teamed up with Academy Sports+ Outdoors to do some giving of another kind.  They treated 30 youngsters from the Houston Texans YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston to the annual shopping spree.
After a protein-rich breakfast from Whataburger for energy, the kids were set free in the sporting goods store armed with wish lists, a $100 gift card from Academy and guidance from the players to help them get the most out of the experience.  The kids grabbed backpacks, shoes, and gear and supplies for their favorite sports.
Besides providing these children with Christmas gifts they may not otherwise have had, the even has many important lessons including the benefits of budgeting, the blessing of generosity during the holidays, and the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle since everything the little guys and girls pick up with encourage them to be active and healthy as they play and grow.
This article was written by Sybil Scott.  Both the article and photo was published in the Houston Texans weekly publication of Tailgate Times.

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Giant Work Of Heart

TRANSFER J.J. WATT HAS MADE HIS MARK IN MADISON ON AND OFF THE FIELD
-Zac Ellis

A PHOTOGRAPH OF A PURDUE QUARTERBACK LAY IN THE WASTEBASKET OF THE BOY’S hospital room. Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt listened as six-year-old cancer patient Jaxson Hinkens, a devoted UW fan who had been diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, explained why he’d tossed the picture away. The Badgers were playing the Boilermakers that weekend, and Jaxson wanted nothing to do with Purdue. “This kid threw a Big Ten quarterback’s picture away, and he wants me to go get a sack for him,” Watt recalls of the visit to American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison last October. “That was real big-time for me.”

He made the visit with Badgers quarterback Scott Tolzien, who had befriended Jaxson. Watt has always had a tendency toward giving back and was so moved that he spent the last year developing his own charity, the Justin J. Watt Foundation. His plan is to create after-school sports programs for Madison-area elementary and middle schools lacking athletic funding, while also keeping his hand in children’s hospitals by busing inpatient kids to see their favorite Wisconsin teams. “The things I learned in sports have carried me past my life on the football field,” Watt says. “If we can get that instilled in kids at a young age, we’ll have a much greater community as a whole.”

In August, with the help of the UW Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, which provides legal services for students jump-starting their own business enterprises, Watt took the important first step of filing the paperwork to establish the foundation. “There was some extraordinary enthusiasm,” says Eric Englund, director of the clinic. “There was certainly a cachet because of who [Watt] is and the underlying concept.”

Watt’s giving nature appears to contrast with his menacing persona. “When he walks in the door, you’ll see,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema says of the 6′ 6″, 285-pound redshirt junior. “He’s a giant.” So is his game. Watt started 13 games last season, had 4½ sacks with 15½ tackles for loss and was a preseason All-Big Ten selection in 2010. A kinesiology major, he was also named an Academic All-Big Ten in ’09. “Some guys would be able to give us great things on the field but not in the classroom, or vice versa,” says Bielema. “J.J.’s the complete package.”

After his freshman year at Central Michigan in 2007, Watt transferred to Wisconsin as a walk-on. He was the scout team’s defensive player of the year in ’08 and earned a scholarship the following spring. Throughout his college career Watt has been visiting children’s hospitals and speaking to classes and youth football teams about values. “As soon as I got to the college level, I was excited to be able to use that celebrity status and do things with it,” he says.

The advice Watt extends often echoes the quote you’ll see under his picture in the ’07 Pewaukee (Wis.) High yearbook: “Dream Big, Work Hard.” He is currently producing wristbands featuring the slogan and his number (99) that he will distribute when he visits kids like Jaxson, who has been showing signs of improvement over the last year. And Watt is not afraid to dream big with his foundation, which should be approved as a federally recognized nonprofit organization within the year. “I’d [like to] expand it and make it grow throughout the country,” he says. “Hopefully, if I make the NFL, I can make it really big.”

Read the article on Sports Illustrated’s website

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The Berry Children

HOUSTON – The Houston Texans will donate the proceeds from the team’s game day auction to a fund created to support the Berry children, the team announced today.  The Houston Texans Foundation, the team’s official non-profit philanthropic organization, operates the auction at each Texans home game.

Houstonians Joshua and Robin Berry were tragically killed in an automobile accident on July 2 while returning from a family vacation in Colorado. Their three children survived the accident, but their sons, Peter, 9, and Aaron, 8, were left with spinal cord injuries, and their daughter Willa, 6, suffered multiple broken bones in the crash.

“Houston is an incredibly diverse city, but we’re all Texans and Texans rally to support one another in times of need,” said Texans president Jamey Rootes.  “This story particularly touched our hearts as members of the Houston football family, and once we learned about this we immediately began working to find the right way to help Peter, Aaron and Willa.”

The children’s maternal grandfather, the late Phil Perlo, was a member of the 1960 AFL Champion Houston Oilers team.  Several Texans players, including QB Matt Schaub , TE Owen Daniels , ILBDeMeco Ryans , S Glover Quin , T Eric Winston  and DE J.J. Watt , visited the Berry children in the hospital in hopes of boosting their morale.

The Texans are also working with ESPN and KHOU to raise awareness before and during the game on Monday night.  The family’s story gained national attention when pop music star Justin Bieber helped launch a website telling people how to donate to the Berrys.

The auction is located in the concourse behind Section 140 and will be open from the time stadium gates open at 5:30 p.m. until the end of halftime.  It will include items autographed by Texans players, team memorabilia and unique Texans experiences.

Among the items available at the auction are:

– Matt Schaub autographed authentic framed jersey
– Arian Foster  autographed framed picture collage commemorating 2010 NFL rushing title
– Texans helmet signed by new Texans Johnathan Joseph  and Danieal Manning
– J.J. Watt autographed encased Texans helmet
– A trip for two (2) to the Texans’ game at the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, October 23
– Game-worn equipment from Monday night’s Texans-Jets game
– Opportunity for two (2) fans to experience pre-game intros from the Texans tunnel at the Texans’ regular-season opener vs. Indianapolis on September 11
– Four (4) pre-game sideline passes for the Texans’ regular-season opener vs. Indianapolis on September 1

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Journey has shaped Watt on and off the field

Journey has shaped Watt on and off the field

Oct 08, 2010

After uncertainty of transfer, J.J. Watt has become a sure thing at defensive end for the Badgers

MADISON, Wis. — Less than three years ago, Justin James Watt was a Pizza Hut delivery man in his hometown of Pewaukee. He aspired to be so much more. But he wasn’t sure how he was going to reach his goals.

Such was his uncertainty over the journey. At the time, he was miles away from being the dominant force at defensive end that he is today for the Wisconsin Badgers.

At the time, he was miles away from establishing the Justin J. Watt foundation to benefit local elementary and middle schools that lack funding for athletics.

At the time, he was taking six credits at a community college and delivering pizzas after walking away from a football scholarship at Central Michigan.

“It was a real humbling experience,’’ he said. “Some of the little kids who once looked up to me would answer the door and say, ‘Mom, why is J.J. Watt here?’ And the only thing I could say back was, ‘I have your pizza.’ It was real humbling. And it brings you back to earth real quickly.”

Adversity? Don’t talk to J.J. Watt about adversity unless you’ve visited the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. Watt has become regular visitor thanks, in part, to quarterback Scott Tolzien who introduced him to young Jaxson Hinkens, a cancer patient.

“It quickly puts life into perspective,” Watt said. “I’ll be complaining about having to run a couple of extra wind sprints at practice. Or, I’ll be complaining about having to redo a play and then I’ll go to the hospital and see some of these kids who are struggling to stay alive.

“And I’m sitting here — I’m 21-years-old and I’m playing for the Wisconsin Badgers. I have an unbelievable family, and an unbelievable opportunity to play football. And they’re fighting for their lives.

“Two weeks ago, we walked into a little boy’s room and his face lit up. As soon as we left the room, his mom came out and told us, ‘That was the first time he has smiled in two weeks.’ It gives me goose bumps just to tell the story.”

Hinkens’ story (stage 4 neuroblastoma) had a pronounced effect on Watt. “For the first time,” he said, “that’s when I really felt the impact that we can have on kids. I really saw what we could do.”

And he wanted to do more. Initially, he looked at what he could do for the Children’s Hospital before concluding that they do what they do very well. But maybe there was another vehicle, another area where he could direct his energy and attention.

“The number one thing I kept coming back to,” Watt said, “is how much sports affected my work ethic, my discipline, and my character. So I wanted to instill those kinds of morals and values in kids at a young age.

“Our goal is to bring after-school athletics into middle schools in the Madison area — to those schools that lack funding or have had their funding cut because of the tough economic times that we live in. We want to pay for uniforms, equipment and transportation.”

Watt took his cue from former Florida State defensive back Myron Rolle, who created the Myron L. Rolle Foundation to provide free health clinics in the Bahamas. “I thought that was a neat idea — using his celebrity status for the good of others,” Watt said.

Connie Watt has always encouraged her boys to get involved with volunteer projects and give back to the community, whether it was Justin (J.J.), or Derrick (D.J.) or Trent (T.J.). If you were wondering … “I have all my teachers call me Justin,” said J.J., “because it’s more professional in the classroom. But I would have no clue if someone would say Justin in the locker-room.”

John Singer, one of his former high school classmates in Pewaukee, has had a big role in forming the foundation. “My mom and John are the two people who are taking over the project during the season because I can’t do it,” Watt said.

Where does it stand today?

“We had to get incorporated, and that’s done,” Watt said. “Number two, we had to register with the state of Wisconsin, and that’s done. Number three, we’re filling out a 30-page application with the IRS. Within two months, we’re hoping to have it officially recognized as a charity (a nonprofit organization).”

That would open the door to fundraising, and so many other things.

“Our first goal is to raise $50,000,” Watt said. “We’re not 100 percent sure where that goal is because it could be a low number depending on how much interest there is. Or it could be a high number — $50,000 is a lot of money no matter how you look at it during this time period.”

None of this would be possible, according to Watt, without the contributions of the UW Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, which has been a guiding light as far as legal services for students looking to get involved in such business and charitable endeavors.

“I went to them and said, ‘This is what I’m trying to do’ and they said ‘We’d love to help you, absolutely,’” he recalled. “Their help has been unbelievable.”

J.J Watt sounds like a pretty good role model, doesn’t he?

Well, he has had help in this area, too.

“When I have kids, I will try to model everything I do after my parents, John and Connie,” he said. “They drove me to the hockey rink early in the morning and late at night. They took me all over the country playing sports. But they also harped on me in the classroom, harped on me to be a good student, harped on me to be a good citizen, and harped on me to be a good friend.”

All of the above.

Mission accomplished.

Yes, you heard right. Watt did play hockey. Between the ages of 3 and 13, he was a center iceman, a goal scorer (now, he’s a goal-setter). But he was not overly big for his age.

He didn’t have his growth spurt until much later.

You might also be surprised to learn that Watt was a quarterback through his junior year of high school. A backup QB, at that, who still professes to have had a “cannon” for an arm.

He also played linebacker and tight end and that got him the most notice from college recruiters, though they primarily represented Mid-American Conference schools.

The Big Boys, the BCS programs, like Wisconsin, weren’t interested. To a degree, Watt could understand because he had yet to fully grow into his frame.

His short list was just that — short. He did like Central Michigan. Really liked the head coach, Brian Kelly. But after taking his official visit and flying home, he was in the Milwaukee airport when he saw an ESPN scroll across the bottom of the screen that reported Kelly had just taken the Cincinnati job.

Watt re-opened the recruiting. After visiting a handful of schools, he liked Minnesota. Really liked the head coach, Glen Mason. But a few weeks later, after the Gophers blew a 38-7 third quarter lead with an epic meltdown against Texas Tech in the 2006 Insight Bowl, Mason was fired.

“I was starting to think that I was a coach killer,” Watt said with a sigh.

Once again, he re-opened the recruiting. He went to Colorado, Purdue, and Cincinnati before settling on Central Michigan, where Butch Jones had replaced Kelly. “He (Jones) told me a lot of good things how they would be using the tight end in their offense,” Watt said.

During the 2007 season, Watt caught eight passes as the starter. “And I decided this wasn’t going to get me to where I wanted to go,’’ said Watt, who elected to leave school in December. “I put my family through a lot. I had just made the decision to leave a full scholarship and a starting position at a Division I school and I was going into the unknown.”

After getting his release from Central Michigan, he called UW coach Bret Bielema and asked if he could be a walk-on. His wish was granted. To fill the void until he enrolled for the fall semester (‘08), he picked up some credits and delivered some pizzas from December to June.

He also worked out like a demon with Joe Panos, a former UW offensive tackle and captain. “During those six months, I got bigger, faster and stronger,” Watt said. “When I left Central, I weighed about 245 pounds. By the time, I got to Wisconsin, I was 285.”

He used the Pizza Hut money to buy a scooter.

“My parents took a $20,000 hit to pay for my first year here while I was walking on,” Watt said. “That’s huge when you’re 18 and you tell your mom and dad that your five years of schooling will be paid for, and, then, you come home and tell them you need $20,000. That hurt me pretty bad.”

Watt, though, earned his keep. He was so impressive, so dynamic on the Badgers’ scout team that he earned a scholarship before ever playing a snap in a regular-season game.

“Everybody always asks me if I would change anything,” Watt said. “If Wisconsin would have offered right away, would I have been better off? There’s no way I’d be where I am today if I didn’t go through the process because it built so much character and taught me so many things about life.”

Complacency is a word that is not in his vocabulary.

But there are four words that he lives by: Dream big. Work hard.

“I was a college kid working in a Pizza Hut,” Watt said, reflecting on his journey. “That was a strong motivating force to get back in the weight room and work harder. Now I’m playing for the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten, and it’s awesome.”

A blueprint and foundation for success.

Read the article on UWBadgers.com

 

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Order Now!

Watt are you waiting for? Order your Dream Big Work Hard gifts by tomorrow morning (9am ET) with UPS ground shipping and your goodies will arrive in time for Christmas! It’s a win/win – great shirts, ornaments, hats and hoodies for your friends & family AND proceeds benefit our Foundation! Happy shopping… http://www.campuscustoms.com/jjwatt/mens.html

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