ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Friday morning on Wake Up, we took a look at the work Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins is doing through Dion’s Dreamers.
He and News 4’s Chris Horvatits spoke about Dawkins’ work:
Dion: “First, it started with mentoring children. Then, when the whole pandemic came around, it went to feeding families and helping families out with meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — holidays, food, clothing, Pampers, women’s hygiene products. Then it swerved back to mentoring because that’s what I always truly wanted to do was mentor kids — just give kids help. I do so much work now with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Just to make sure every little has a big. There’s so many kids with different journeys. For them to have somebody to lean on and shoot the one-on-one with and just to build confidence with, I think is extremely important in this day and age.
Chris: One kid I know you’ve met is Andre Mackniel, Jr., the son of one of the 10 people killed at Tops earlier this year. You went to his birthday party shortly after the shooting. I know he’s going to be at the home opener against the Titans here. What does that relationship mean to you?
Dion: Just for a kid who probably doesn’t know what he’s going through. For an adult to understand what that kid’s going through and just to be there for him so when that time turns, he knows that he has somebody whether he wants that or doesn’t, he knows there’s guys here like myself for him just to keep him happy and in great spirits and to keep him putting one foot in front of another.
Chris: You as a team, and you individually, have raised a lot of money for the families. Your cornhole tournament for instance and Micah’s charity softball game, as well. Does the team, do you, take it upon yourself as a responsibility to step up for the community?
Dion: Yes, because everybody has a role. If you’re a football player, you play football. If you’re a cop, you’re supposed to protect. If you’re a teacher, you’re supposed to teach. If you have a greater impact on others, I think you should use those gifts. I think I’m blessed where I relate to a lot of different groups and backgrounds of people. I use my tools to keep people smiling and to just do whatever I possibly can, whether it’s just being there saying “Hi” or giving them a hug and making a laugh. Whatever it is, I’m always here for them.
Chris: So what might be next? What might we see with Dion’s Dreamers moving forward?
Dion: I’ve got all types of stuff going, man. There is a talent “shnow” coming where I’m planning on letting the kids and people in the community that have talents that want to be shown, let them come and show their talents on my talent “shnow.”
Chris: What would your talent be, other than playing tackle?
Dion: Cheering them on. My talent will probably cheering them on, on that day.
Chris: Support’s important.
Dion: Support is definitely important. And you know.
Chris: Dion Dawkins, offensive tackle. Thanks, Dion
Dion: Appreciate you, man. Thank you.
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Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.