Updated:ORLANDO, Fla. —
A man from Orlando is getting national attention for a game-changing play that helped Florida State with the BCS championship against Auburn on Monday.
Channel 9's Deneige Broom learned Levonte Whitfield, who graduated from Jones High School, had a lot of help getting to college thanks to a program that's still touching hundreds of other kids.
Before he ran 100 yards for a game changing touchdown on national television, Whitfield was simply known as Kermit to his Parramore friends.
He was part of Parramore Kidz Zone when it started in 2005. The grant and donor-funded program through the city of Orlando gives kids of all ages a better chance at success.
There, neighborhood kids can be mentored and supported with jobs and tutoring in a way they might not get at home.
"Just to know that somebody's there for me," said Ricky Harrison of PKZ.
It's a big part of why Cordarius Williams said he's the first person in his family to go to college.
"Once you get the knowledge in your head, they can't take that from you," said Williams.
The football field at Jackson Community Center is one of the first fields Whitfield would've been playing on and his friends who came out on Thursday said they couldn't be more proud to have started there with him.
"It gives me hope and everyone else because, you know, if one of us can make it, then all of us can make it," said Johnny Germain of the PKZ.
All of the young men in the program said drugs and a life of crime could've kept them from getting to college but they made it with the help of PKZ. Now they hope the FSU freshman hailing from Parramore might be able to inspire more people to follow in their footsteps.
"When Kermit did what he did, he showed kids it's not about what's here, what's going on right now, but about the future," said Williams.
Parramore Kidz Zone helps more than 1,300 children and now offers an after-school feeding program. There will be a free youth event on Jan. 18 at PKZ with retired NBA players teaching basketball and leadership skills.