The NFL Star Who Inspired “The Blind Side” Is Himself Inspired By A Student’s Story From Waco

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Michael Oher, the athlete whose journey from homeless to NFL star inspired the hit movie “The Blind Slide,” visited Waco to inspire others at a fundraiser. fund and walked away inspired by the story of a local high school student.

Oher said he accepted the invitation to be the guest speaker at the Talitha Koum Institute’s fifth annual fundraiser on Tuesday night at the Baylor Club in Waco because he considered himself the “model child” of those that the Waco-based organization is trying to help.

The former NFL star has said he has no idea he will be leaving Waco inspired by the life of Steven Torres, an 18-year-old helped by Talitha Koum since he was 10 months old.

“Most definitely,” Oher said when asked if Torres had inspired him. “For a high school kid, he graduates early and he started with the program, with Talitha Koum, and that’s what you’re looking for in Steven. “

Steven was raised by a single mother with a full-time job who did her best, he says, to take care of himself and his four siblings. Times were tough and the mother made a decision that changed the trajectory of Steven’s life by enrolling him in the Talitha Koum Institute.

“It helped me say my ABCs,” Steven said. “Talitha Koum has helped me in many ways throughout my life. It has helped me keep pushing and being a leader.

Steven, a calm kid by nature, said he doesn’t like public speaking, but on Tuesday night he took the stage to talk about how the association has changed his life.

News 10 Julie Hays interviewed Oher ahead of the fundraiser. Watch her interview in the clip below:

Steven was matched with two mentors who have helped him for over a decade. While life seemed hopeless at one point for his family, Steven is now preparing to graduate from high school a year earlier with big career goals, which he says would never have been possible without Talitha Koum.

“I would probably be somewhere like most of my peers, dealing drugs, in prison, in and out of prison, failing classes and I wouldn’t have met my mentors, the wonderful people in my life who have helped my mom and helped me whenever I needed it, “Steven said.” My life would just have been drastically different. “

Oher followed up on Steven’s speech by appearing on stage alongside Baylor Head men’s basketball coach Scott Drew for a question-and-answer session.

Oher told his own story of surviving trauma and homelessness with a drug addict single mom, a dad in jail, without food, or even someone to take him to school as early as fourth grade.

Baylor Head men’s basketball coach Scott Drew and former NFL lineman Michael Oher.(Courtesy photo)

He talked about getting dressed, walking to school on his own, and even finding a job as a newspaper seller so that he could pay for the bus ticket to school.

After the event, Oher spoke to KWTX about how Steven had inspired him.

“Looking for someone like me when you have that, you know, right in front of you,” Oher said. “This is why we are doing it and inspiring the next generation to achieve these results. “

Steven and his mother, along with Steven’s mentors, were seated at the same table as Oher and the two visited him throughout the evening.

Oher was so interested in the association that he visited the facilities earlier today. He donated three autographed soccer balls for the audible auction, which ended up grossing over $ 20,000, and he stayed until the last participant left the room to sign autographs and pick up some Pictures.

If Oher has any advice for kids like Steven everywhere, he says it’s to never give up on your dreams and look at yourself in the mirror every day knowing that your choices and desire to win can change your life, everything. like his.

“Younger people think ‘oh he got a lot of help’ and actually I was 17 or 18 before I started getting help,” Oher said. “I must have done the right thing years before someone started helping me. I had to not get caught up in the environment I was in. I had to go to school every day. I had to stay away from drugs and people doing what I knew was wrong.

Oher now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he runs a foundation for at-risk children. He hopes to one day open a home for boys at risk.

Steven is set to graduate from Waco High School this year and plans to join the US Marine Corps. After retiring from service, Steven would like to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.


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