Big 12 Campus Correspondent
On the field, Oklahoma defensive back Quinton Carter is known for his presence in the Sooners' secondary. The senior's 24 tackles through four games speak to his defensive dominance.
Off of the field, Carter is known for his presence in the community.
Growing up, Carter was brought up on the basic principles of humility and service.
"Don't take anything for granted," Carter said. "Give back whenever you can."
Carter's motto is not just one of gratitude, but one of action. He has lived out this call to service by devoting his free time to Norman KinderCare, where he has adopted a class of four-year-old children.
"I thought I could just go there during my free time, see what it's all about," Carter said. "I'll go in there and read with them, play with them. Basically just being there and being in their life."
From going on nature walks to working on basic writing skills, Carter has taken the children of KinderCare under his wing and provides them with a positive role model. "Mr. Q" is always willing to help show his class the importance of staying active, reading and, of course, football.
"They all want to grow up to be football players," Carter said. "Or if they see a game on TV no matter who's playing they'll think it's me. A lot of parents will tell me they take them to high school games and the kids try to look for me out there. It's kind of crazy."
Though his visits are less numerous during the season, Carter tries to stop by the classroom as often as possible. As much as the kids love seeing their favorite Sooner, they aren't the only ones getting something out of his visits.
"Going in there really brings you down to earth and makes you appreciate things a whole lot more," Carter said. "It's really special for me to be with the kids and see how they grow and develop and learn things."
Carter's service to his community doesn't stop with KinderCare. He has volunteered with numerous other organizations such as the Oklahoma City Marathon, the University Center for Student Advancement and the OU Black Graduate Student Association.
"Helping out others is my passion," he said. "When I'm done with my football career I really want that to become my new career."
Determined to further act upon his passion for serving others, Carter started his own non-profit organization, Serving Others through Unity and Leadership (SOUL).
The SOUL Foundation's main purpose is to serve the community and mentor kids, but it has quickly expanded.
Through Carter's leadership and overseeing, the SOUL Foundation has worked with organizations such as the Whitten Newman Foundation and Pros for Africa. Carter is in his third year of hosting a free youth football camp in his hometown of Las Vegas. He plans on running holiday food drives, including a buffet-style Thanksgiving dinner for needy and homeless families.
Future projects include working with an iPhone app that deals with childhood obesity, teaming up with Remote Area Medical to create a free health care event in Vegas, as well as establishing mentoring programs in Haiti.
With all that Carter does for those around him, it's no surprise that the OU senior was named to the Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He became the fourth Sooner in five years to receive the honor.
"Involving ourselves in the lives of others is probably the most important thing any of us can do, and I'm glad that Quinton has shown this initiative," OU coach Bob Stoops said. "We've built something of a legacy here in that area and that's a good challenge for our younger players."
Just as the children of KinderCare and the members of SOUL's Las Vegas football camp look up to Carter while he's on the football field, he continues to look out for them while on the gridiron.
"I love playing football," said Carter. "I have a dream of playing in the pros. While I'm out there (on the field) I think about aspects of my life like my family and the foundation. The better I play, the better position I'll be in to help them out."
If Carter plans on helping others his entire life, it would make sense for him to put his service on pause until after he graduates. After all, he is a Division I student-athlete balancing both academics and numerous hours for one of the most prestigious football teams in the nation. Why dedicate so much of his limited time?
"I have the mindset that I want to help people out as soon as I can because tomorrow isn't promised," Carter said. "If I make a difference today, I can live with that. If you're in the position to help out others and have a positive effect on their life, why not do it?"
The SOUL Foundation's website, www.SOULFoundation.org, is being launched this week. Readers can get in contact with the organization through its email, SOULFoundation@hotmail.com.