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Redskins legend uses star power to help at-risk teens

Saturday - 10/6/2012, 9:59pm  ET

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A pedal-tractor race gave kids the chance to compete using the well-known farm tool. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
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Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Helping at-risk kids get a second shot at life has been this football legend's passion for nearly 30 years.

Joe Gibbs, former Redskins head coach, greeted families coming out for the 27th annual Youth for Tomorrow Country Fair and Auction in Bristow Saturday morning. But attendees did more than just enjoy live entertainment, food and rides.

They were supporting an important cause.

Youth for Tomorrow is a home and school for at-risk adolescents who have been abused and abandoned. Money raised Saturday helps the organization serve more than 100 teens each year at the facility, says Youth for Tomorrow's CEO Gary Jones.

"Some of them just have such horrible stories," Gibbs says.

"They have no one really to lean on. They've fallen behind. They recognize they've fallen behind, but where does a 14-to 18 year-old go to get caught up in life?"

The answer, he says, is Youth for Tomorrow.

Gibbs is committed to helping teens reinvent their lives, he says. Youth for Tomorrow is structured to resemble a home "where there are real live-in parents that love them and discipline them."

When asked why he's so passionate about helping teens, Gibbs says it is because "an impact on other people" is what we leave behind to the next generation.

Although the former coach lives in North Carolina, each year he makes the pilgrimage to Bristow. Last year he was sidelined for the first time since founding the center in 1986. He is grateful to be back, he says.

Four-year-old Emily Blevins was also having a blast at the fair.

"I want to do it again," she told her mom after winning a race where she out- pedaled her opponents.

Blevins' mom, Carolyn, says the Manassas family attended the event last year and loved it.

"It's a lot of fun," she says. "It's [for] a great cause."

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