*Tyrell Zimmerman is a man on a mission to address the wave of mental health challenges impacting urban youth, many of whom are struggling with trauma, childhood PTSD, and depression due to the harshness of their environments. With the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering, the mental health battle has only gotten worse as schools seek solutions. One of the ways Zimmerman is making a difference is through his children’s book, “Carter: My Dream, My Reality,” which promotes literacy and serves as a powerful guiding tool, assisting children with positive coping mechanisms, healing and recovery.
A native of Waterbury, CT who now resides in Atlanta, the financial professional, educator, and former professional football player is currently traveling across the country and speaking at schools. Earlier this month (March 2nd), he and the NFL partnered for National Read Across America Day, where current NFL players and former athletes donated their time at elementary schools to read to and speak with students.
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“Carter: My Dream, My Reality” is about a young black boy, Carter, who is growing up surrounded by violence and negative things taking place around him in his neighborhood. He expresses his fears to his mother, who assures him that despite his surroundings, he will succeed. The book is loosely based on Zimmerman’s own life.
“My book really deals with mental health and trauma, and I have been on the front line working to serve the community at large,” Zimmerman said. “Although I have been working on this for some time, since COVID, America has taken the response of dealing more seriously with mental health due to so many kids getting depressed. Now that there is more attention on it, I am using my book to help. I can relate to many of these young people. I grew up in the hood and faced stress and PTSD. This book not only helps the kids, but gives parents tools to support their children.”
Last December, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory highlighting the urgent need to prioritize the mental health crisis among the nation’s youth.
Zimmerman indicated that his book is currently listed in the NFL’s research library for players and their families to use as a support tool for traumatic events and stress.
“My focus is on the children,” he said. “Because so many of them are experiencing what I experienced as a kid with no real solutions, I decided that I would no longer stand on the sideline. So, I put myself in the game by creating this children’s book to save lives and to help children realize that there is more out there for them. The NFL and I align in our goals to prioritize health and wellness for the youth. I thank the NFL for what they are doing to make an impact.”
Tyrell Zimmerman’s book, “Carter: My Dream, My Reality” is currently available on amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Carter-My-Dream-Reality/dp/1631777106. To keep up with him, follow him on Instagram @realhighup_.