Songstress Ciara and her husband, NFL player Russell Wilson have been dedicated to ensuring youth from underserved communities have access to high-quality education. This holiday season, the couple advanced their efforts to inspire and empower children. The Wilsons visited their Des Moines-based Why Not You Academy charter school to surprise students with gifts and words of wisdom, People reported.
The school—which officially opened this fall—is an extension of the couple’s nonprofit, the Why Not You Foundation. The organization’s mission is to eradicate poverty and enhance children’s education and health initiatives. During their visit, Russell and Ciara surprised the school’s inaugural class with items from their Human Nation and Dare to Roam apparel brands. They also revealed the official mascot for the school would be a lion.
While interacting with the students, the Wilsons spoke about the importance of following their dreams and taking actionable steps towards bringing them to fruition, eliminating self-doubt and not letting their current circumstances define their futures. “I always say, all it takes is one person to believe, and that person is you,” Ciara shared with the young scholars. “Where you come from in life will not determine how far you go.”
Russell added he hopes the students won’t count themselves out in pursuit of their dreams. “There was something my dad used to always tell me, he used to always say, ‘Son, why not you?'” he said. “We want you all to ask that question — ‘Why not me? Why can’t I be what I’m destined to be?'”
The visit comes months after the Wilsons announced they’re releasing a children’s book titled Why Not You?. Inspired by their personal coming of age stories and their children, the picture book—which features illustrations by artist Jessica Gibson—was created to help youth develop a solid sense of self-confidence. Why Not You? is slated to hit shelves in March 2022.