Eli Manning Asks Kids to Get Out Their Pencils and Win Technology for Their Schools


Add Samsung’s Four Season of Hope contest to the list of charitable children’s programs that New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning is supporting.

Manning, the Giants’ nominee to be the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2007 and 2008 for his off-field contributions, kicked off the start of the Four Seasons of Hope contest yesterday.

Giants Quarterback Eli Manning Announces Beginning of Four Seasons of Hope Essay ContestGiants Quarterback Eli Manning Announces Beginning of Four Seasons of Hope Essay Contest

Giants Quarterback Eli Manning Announces Beginning of Four Seasons of Hope Essay Contest. Photo credit to Michael Simon/Samsung.

The contest asks children to submit 100-word essays answering the question of how consumer electronics, computer equipment and software awarded through the contest could benefit their school.

At stake is the chance to win cutting-edge technology products, educational television programming, and cash grants supplied by Samsung and program partners Microsoft, DIRECTV and Best Buy. Entries are due November 1st. Full details of the contest can be found here.

I asked Manning what made him choose to give his name and time to this particular program, especially in the middle of a busy football season.

“A lot of the charity work that I do involves children,” he said. “And education was always important to me but it was something I struggled with on early in my youth, especially with problems in reading. I got behind but I got the proper help and it made it easier for me to learn.”
Manning, an academic All-American in college, says he hopes the winners of this contest will be able to put the donated goods to similar use, to help kids who need it.
During his college years at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi, Manning said he often took time whenever he could to visit the local elementary school, just a three-minute walk from campus, to read to the kids.

“The teachers said I could pop in whenever I wanted, and I kinda knew their schedule, knew when it was a good time. If I had an hour break before lunch or after class, instead of going all the way back home, I’d go to the school.”

Manning, from a famous athletic family, said he often saw his father go to charity events as a child and saw how he was respected in the community for it.

“It wasn’t talked about that we had to do this, no one said anything or insisted that we did, but I was exposed to it early and I wanted to use my name and money to help.”

Manning has been married for a year and doesn’t have children of his own yet but he says he has thought about how to raise them, particularly given that they’ll be in the spotlight because of the famous name.

“Probably the most important things my parents did was support us with what we wanted to do,” he said. “They never forced sports upon us. We enjoyed sports, we enjoyed being outside and that’s what he supported. It didn’t matter if we hit the game-winning home run in a little league game or if we missed the free throw to win the basketball game, he’d always put his arm around us and say ‘good game.'”

” If we gave it our all, we had their total support. It’s the same way with the brothers, we supported each other. It means a lot to when your big brother shows up to your little fifth-grade game.”

Manning says he hopes to do the same as his parents.

“I think physical education is important and and learning about teamwork but I’ll stress education and support my kids in whatever they want to do, actor, musician, science teacher, whatever they want.”
I also couldn’t resist asking about the cool geek toys he must have in his own house, given his financial resources. But his most important one is something he uses for his job.

“The most important gadget to me is a computer that has all my film work, has all my games, the team that I’m studying, and I can hook that up to a big 62 inch Samsung television,” he said. “I can sit in my film room and study all my opponents. It makes it real easy to see different things the other team is doing, see the different looks, and make myself prepared as possible. It gives me the edge.”

He said, however, that you won’t catch him playing the popular Madden video games.

“I used to play, four or five years ago, but I’d run a play I knew I would work with the defense the other side had set up but it would fail. That was frustrating.” He laughed.

“And I get frustrated enough in my job in real life, so I gave that up.”

He did add, diplomatically, that he know the game has improved over the last few years but that he has enough trouble sorting out defenses in real life to go back to it.

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