ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - As Bethel University linebacker Josh Dalki surprised students with one-on-one tutoring sessions inside St. Paul’s Rondo Community Library Tuesday afternoon, he received quite the kicker of his own.
The player was honored with a ceremony and a 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team trophy, a nationwide recognition for his dedication to serving the community.
“Creating mentors, mentoring relationships with these kids, that means so much to these kids. They really need to see people who aren’t just fantastic on the field but they’re a whole person giving back to this community,” said Julia Hendrickson, a Blaine-based Allstate Agent who presented Dalki with his newest award.
Dalki, an aspiring teacher studying education, says the disparity between city and suburban public school resources moves him to freely give his gifts and his time tutoring underprivileged kids.
“It’s sad seeing where there’s a lot of resources lacking and not as much funding to schools, and it does feel good to help even just one or two students. It’s definitely worth the initial commitment in order to get something greater out of it and shape you into a better person,” the linebacker said.
Dalki tutors several grade school students every week at public libraries throughout St. Paul. The habit is one the Minnetonka High School graduate formed at a young age, after benefiting from mentors himself.
“When I was in middle school I remember high-schoolers coming and taking time out of their day to come to our practice after their practice, taking time to give back at events. I always thought that was a really cool thing,” Dalki said.
After the ceremony, members of the Bethel athletics department, Dalki’s teammates and Allstate hosted a special tutoring session at the library.
“His way is to be kind and to be considerate and kind of a ‘fruits of the spirit’ guy, so it's pretty cool,” said Bethel football coach Steve Johnson, “I'm proud of him.”
The award is a true testament to the heart Dalki displays on the field and off, not only as a college football player, but as a young man tackling a critical disparity. Not to mention, a mentor kids and parents already love.
“He'd be a great teacher. His dad's a teacher and he'll be a great coach... I got some kids and I want my kids to have a teacher like that,” Johnson said.
Hundreds of public school students stand to benefit from Dalki’s recognition. In the spirit of giving back that Josh inspired, Allstate donated a printer and scanner to the Rondo Community Library, resources they desperately needed.
Dalki’s recognition is significant. He was selected as one of only 22 college football players in the country to receive the award, chosen from a pool of more than 145 nominees across the NCAA.
Fans have the opportunity to vote for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain by visiting ESPN.com/Allstate. The Team Captain, along with his fellow award recipients, will be invited to New Orleans to be honored on the field during halftime of the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl and to take part in a special youth football clinic leading up to the game.