KENOSHA, Wis. - Billy Turner is much more than just an offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers. He’s also a big proponent for social change, and has used his platform to shed light on social justice issues. FOX6's Lily Zhao caught up with Turner to discuss his next venture -- making a difference for kids in southeast Wisconsin.
Billy Turner is a busy man. He protects Aaron Rodgers, has his own clothing line and spends his time trying to promote positivity with “The Irie Project," a collaboration that combines Turner’s love for fashion, social change and giving back.
"I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to make an impact on a different community," said Turner.
To help with "The Irie Project" round two -- the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha.
"On top of a coronavirus pandemic, we have had some unrest and some uncertainty in our town," said Jake McGhee, CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. "He thought it would be cool to get the Kenosha kids involved and to find a way to give back."
Turner couldn’t be there in person because of the pandemic, so the Packers sent a robot with the offensive lineman’s face on a tablet to talk with the kids in Kenosha.
"It was pretty cool," said Michael Adams. "When I saw it, I was like, 'Wait, that is a robot.'"
Turner was able to chat with the kids about perseverance and hard work, and also had them draw and design fabric patches within the theme of peace and unity.
"Any time you are able to promote peace, to promote love and inclusion amongst everyone, I want to take the opportunity to do that," said Turner.
"It's possible that a kid from the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha will design an artwork that is going to be worn by Aaron Rodgers or Aaron Jones," said McGhee.
Patches will be put on a coat that will be gifted to every person and player within the Packers organization near Christmas time.
"The other part of this project is to start to breed the next generation to want to do things and to give back," said Turner.
So do the players know these coats are coming, or is it going to be a surprise?
"I’m sure they figure something is happening," said Turner. "I know they don't know what they are going to look like. They’ll be different than last year."
This continues the tradition of Turner’s "Irie Project" from a year ago, when he also donated 700 coats. He aims to give out that same amount this holiday season.
"There’s going to be an even mix here between Wisconsin and Minnesota to which areas are in need," said Turner.
In the end, the idea behind the project matters above all else.
"They’re wearing it knowing that a kid helped design it," said Turner. "You know there is a bigger picture here, and that is the message behind the art that they’re creating."