Dotson Foundation Celebrates 10th Anniversary

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: April 25, 2007

HOUSTON — The Santana Dotson Foundation celebrated their 10th Anniversary with their annual celebrity weekend fundraiser, with a variety of events throughout the city.

The fundraiser, which benefits the Santana Dotson Scholarship Fund, has helped over 100 students with funding for college during the ten year history.

Dotson, a former NFL star with the Buccaneers and Packers, has given his time and money over the last decade to a cause that is close to his heart. He feels that a college education should be attainable to any child that has the desire for a better chance in life.

The many goals of this foundation has been to add more students to their recipient list every year and with the help of sponsors they have been blessed to award continual college scholarships.

“I enjoy doing this because it means a lot to be giving back to the kids,” Dotson stated. “It works and the most impressive thing for me is that once the recipients graduate from college they go on to graduate school to learn how to start their own foundation.”

Six recipients from the Class of 2007 were recognized at a Scholarship Mixer held at the Hilton Americas Hotel. This past Friday, the celebrities showed up for the annual Celebrity Pool tournament held at Slick Willie’s Family Pool Hall.

Celebrities in attendance included: current NFL players such as Corey Bradford, William Henderson, Kevin Smith, Kevin Williams, Marcus Spriggs, Vonnie Holiday, Keith McKenzie, Robert Royal, Allen Aldridge, Moran Norris, and others.

Other celebrities on hand included: NBA star Nick Van Exel, former Astros pitcher J.R. Richard, former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kimble Anders, former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Bobby Taylor, trainer Louis Ray from Texas Orthopedic Hospital, and former Yates Lions teammates Cliff Blackburn and Maurice Hopson.

Slick Willie’s manager Craig Watson looks forward to having the celebrites partner with the sponsors for a great pool tournament.

“The event just keeps getting bigger and better every year,” Watson said. “We put on a 24-team double elimination tournament. It’s all about giving back to others and Santana Dotson is great at doing that.”

Previous pool tournament champs include: Henderson (1999), Dotson (2000), Marcus Coleman (2001), Kevin Williams (2002 & 2003), Willie Davis (2004), Williams again (2005) and Robert Wilson (2006).

The Foundation also sponsored a Youth Sports Camp at HISD’s Barnett Stadium complex for 300 greater Houston area boys and girls. The camp featured one-on-one instruction from celebrity coaches and competitions.

The participants received a catered lunch and a bag of gifts from various sponsors such as: Joe’s Crab Shack, Applebee’s, 97.9 The Box, t-shirts, and Douglas athletic equipment.

Dotson started a chant at the camp: “I like it.” and the kids replied: “I love it!”.

Awards were given out for the following categories:

Most Outstanding Performance: Jasmine James, Jordan Thompson, Ricky Zermono, and Alia Davis.

Teamwork Award: Jeremiah Edwards, Joshua Fields, Marcus Fletcher, and Jessica Morris.

Leadership Award: Michael Starks, Jamarco Johnson, William Gainer, and Briana Bass.

At the conclusion of the camp, Dotson told the kids that “they needed to make good decisions in life, because they control their own destiny.”

The 10-year celebration ended with the annual “Heads or Tails” Crawfish Festival at Joe’s Crab Shack located on 610 near Reliant Stadium.