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This former NFL player is tackling Dayton community problems head-on

While most of his peers were pondering parties and first jobs, then University of Cincinnati student LaVar Glover had his eyes set on an NFL career and registering his 15-year-old brother in high school. 

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Glover, a Jefferson High School graduate raised partly in Residence Park, said it was helping his younger brother James Phillips get back on track that helped gear him towards a life of service when his 10-year career in professional football ended. 

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“I felt all those young guys were like my younger brother,” Glover, who operated The Glover Youth Program from 2009 to 2013, said. “If I can motivate him (my brother), I can motivate others.” 

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Archived 2010 photo: LaVar Glover founded Glover Youth Program, Inc. - a residential facility that catered to mentoring males between the ages of 12-17. (Kelli Wynn/Jim Witmer)

Through the nonprofit, Glover provided boys in foster care and/or a juvenile courts system with residential placement, mentoring, life skills development and therapeutic treatment services. 

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“I felt like I had always been a humble kid, that come from humble beginnings. Growing up with lack of resources and growing up poor makes you appreciate what you've got,” Glover said. “I was always comfortable in my own skin because I didn’t have much.” 

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LaVar Glover (right) is picured here in this 2002 photo with his brother James Phillips (left). At the time this photo was taken, Glover had just signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two are standing at the Steelers office in Pittsburgh, PA. Photo submitted by LaVar Glover. (Kelli Wynn/Contributed photo)

During his career in football, Glover, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers before being signed by the Cincinnati Bengals and the Detroit Lions. 

Following a three-year stint in the NFL, he played seven years in the Arena and Canadian Football Leagues. 

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Dayton called him home when his football days were done. 

“I wanted to be around my family,” he said. 

He said he was nurtured in the community he grew up in, recalling Little League and going to the Wesley Community Center.

“I was familiar with the community. I had a community network,” he said. “Dayton was good to me.” 

We caught up with LaVar Glover, this week’s Daytonian of the Week. 

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LaVar Glover during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals

What do you do, and how did you get involved in Community Action Partnership? 

I am the Director of Self-Sufficiency and I facilitate and coordinate “Getting Ahead In a Just-Gettin’-By World” workshops in Montgomery, Greene, Preble and Darke counties. 

[The workshop] is about building resources for a better life for those living in poverty or unstable situations. In Getting Ahead, we study poverty and near poverty through the lens of economic class to better understand how our society and the economy work. In groups of 12-14 people, we investigate the impact that poverty and low wages have on our community and what it takes to move from a just getting-by world. The idea of “Getting Ahead” means action and movement- getting ahead of where we are now, toward a brighter future. 

 I first learned of CAP through my wife (Ivy), who previously worked for CAP in the Marketing Department. 

 Becoming the Director of Self-Sufficiency was a great fit for me. I genuinely care about helping others, I am a coach at heart, and I grew up in poverty. 

Daytonian of the Week LaVar Glover with his children, Matthew and Imani.  (Submitted)

What superpower would you love to have? 

I would love to be able to fly like Superman. 

What do you love about life in Dayton? 

Dayton is small but impactful. 

What do you wish people knew about CAP? 

Daytonian of the Week LaVar Glover. (Submitted)

I wish people knew all of our services and the many counties we serve. CAP is an organization that helps people become more stable with a variety of programs. Our newest programs are the Legal Clinic, Transportation Services, and Getting Ahead. We also have free Tax Services and Computer Classes, to name a few. 

What is the most important thing you learned from your NFL career? 

Make every day count. 

What advice do you give to student athletes hoping to make sports a career? 

Be humble. Be coach-able and work beyond your limits in the classroom and on the field. Prepare for adversity and fall in love with the process of being the best person you can be. 

Daytonian of the Week LaVar Glover. (Submitted)

What is the last book you read? 

“The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz. 

Where do you go for a great time? 

Great times for me are spent with my family at our golf courses and bowling alleys. 

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What would you change about Dayton? 

I would like to rehab all of the abandoned buildings (downtown) and homes throughout the community. Also, I would like to change the negative stigma Dayton sometimes carry throughout the community. I’m ready for Dayton Public Schools to be recognized as a great school district again. 

What should people know about Dayton? 

Dayton is on the move with re-developing the downtown areas. Dayton has beautiful real estate and is prime for business opportunities. Dayton has many resources for people in need. 

LaVar Glover (back) with his family (left to right)Matthew, Imani, Ivy, and Lil Reggie (Submitted by LaVar Glover)
LaVar Glover (center in uniform) is pictured in this 2001 photo with University of Cincinnati Football Coach (left) Rick Minter, his brother James Phillips and his mother (right). Photo submitted by LaVar Glover. (Kelli Wynn/Contributed photo)
Derrick Shepard, William Waters, LaVar Glover, Avery Cunningham, Reggie Powers, JC Baker, Derrick Adams and Joy Baker (front) (Submitted by LaVar Glover)
Daytonian of the Week LaVar Glover. (Submitted)

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