By SCOTT COTTOS
The IMagINe for Youth Foundation’s roots reach back to a class project at the University of Iowa.
One of the originators, Fostoria High School graduate Micah Hyde, has gone on to reach the big time. He wants his foundation to do likewise.
“I love the way it’s going,” the Buffalo Bills’ strong safety said in a phone interview on Thursday night. “Right now, it’s in the beginning stages. We’re having these events, and people can see the website (imagineforyouth.org) and the videos. That helps get the word out about what we’re doing.”
The class project and original premise of the foundation were to refurbish used athletic equipment and donate it to schools and youth sports organization.
That purpose remains in place, though it has already begun to branch out.
Raising funds for the foundation is the idea behind an event scheduled for Monday at KemoSabes Roadhouse Grill, 820 Sandusky St. On a night when the restaurant would typically be closed, Hyde will host an open-to-the-public event in which proceeds from food and drink sales, a 50-50 raffle, silent auctions and other activities will raise funds for IMagINe for Youth.
The event will begin at 5 p.m.
Hyde will be coming to Fostoria after the Bills play the Bengals in Cincinnati on Sunday. The team’s bye week in the NFL schedule will begin on Monday.
Hyde will be available for autographs and photographs, and he hopes to fit in a question-and-answer session. The Monday Night Football contest between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears will be on TV.
“We wanted to do something else in Fostoria to keep people aware of what’s going on,” Hyde said. “People will be able to chill, relax, hang around and have some fun.”
The foundation’s kickoff event was a free football camp at Memorial Stadium in June that was attended by 500 youngsters. Fellow NFL players in attendance included Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey and Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward, and coaches from several area high schools helped conduct drills.
Next came a Backpack Bash at the Northwest Buffalo Community Center in September. The foundation hosted 150 youngsters who received free backpacks and participated in a variety of activities.
Hyde said his fiancee, Amanda Kamiksisian, is guiding the foundation with assistance from his mother and stepfather, Pam and Clayton Moore, and Greg and Aymee Flores of the Geary Family YMCA. Hyde remains active in it as well, though his football duties take up a good amount of his time.
“They’ll ask me questions and I’ll give my input,” he said.
In his “day job,” Hyde is tied for the NFL lead with three interceptions for a defense that has played a large part in a 3-1 start to the season for the Bills.
Hyde moved to Buffalo as a free agent after four seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He said the enthusiasm of Bills fans is similar to what he found in Green Bay.
“These people are crazy, with the tailgating and everything,” he said. “My family and Amanda’s family love it, and they’ve fit in real well.”