Oct. 22, 2016
by Tom Fenstermaker
Spending time dedicated to civic service generally does not result in financial stability, but after four-and-a-half years at Virginia, strong safety Kelvin Rainey thinks it will be the most rewarding for him when he hangs up his cleats.
“After football, I want to do something that gives back to the community,” Rainey said. “I do not want to focus too much on money and be unhappy, but something where I am being used for good and that benefits others.”
Serving the community was not the original path Rainey intended to take upon graduation, but was one that has grown during his time in Charlottesville.
“I really only thought about majoring in psychology,” he said. “I still enjoy it and learning about why the mind does what it does, but I probably would have ended up going into a career in anthropology because the study of people is really interesting to me. I enjoy learning why people do what they do and how the mind works.
“I took a lot of history classes along with the psychology major and then tried to double major with that and foreign affairs. The [foreign affairs] classes are very interesting and the psychology major was not working out as well, so I just went with foreign affairs [as a major]. It is always good to know what is going on around the world and the current events we discuss in the classes keep me updated on what is going on all over the world. They are not always things I would pay attention to, so it is interesting to learn about what other cultures are doing.”
So what was a big reason Rainey was drawn to a path of giving back? A class focused on multicultural studies that required community service.
“I had to do community service for the class and I decided to go work at Venable Elementary School a couple days a week,” Rainey said. “I would hang out with the kids and help them with homework, but once they found out I was on the football team, they just wanted to run around and play sports. Once we were done playing, I would help them a lot with reading.”
“The class was only a semester, but I ended up doing it all year because I loved it and found it rewarding.”
While the foreign affairs major broadened Rainey’s scope to wanting to give back, he is primarily focused on staying stateside.
“I would say that UVA opened my eyes to giving back. There are issues in the United States that are going on that are bad, but compared to other countries, we have it pretty good,” Rainey said. “Compared to some of the issues I have heard about in places such as Latin America, we at least have a good system in place.”
Another reason to Rainey has been drawn to helping others comes from Rainey’s two older brothers continuing to help him to this day.
His oldest brother, Jonathan, played defensive end at New Mexico, while the middle brother, Derek, was a cornerback at Arizona during the same time current UVA offensive coordinator and inside receivers coach Robert Anae was serving as the Wildcats’ offensive line coach.
“They played sports before I even thought about it and I grew up watching them and wanting to be like them and then to try and be better than them,” Rained said. “I always liked running around, but did not play organized sports until I saw them play. I was always one step behind them because I was younger, so I was just trying to keep up.”
Now that the youngest Rainey is the only one left playing football, his brothers always try to help him out.
“They still give me tips because they both played defense,” he said. “They like to break down my film even before I see it.”
Whether it is helping youngsters with their homework at Venable Elementary or getting some extra help from his older brothers, Kelvin Rainey’s eyes have been opened to giving back and the community will be the one to benefit from it.