Malcolm Butler: 'If you have a dream, aim for it. Anything is possible!'

Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler on speaking to kids: "When people look up to you, you can change their life." AP Photo/Steven Senne

BROCKTON, Mass. -- New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler stood on the stage at West Middle School on Wednesday morning to deliver an inspirational message to a crowd of about 200 that had just given him a hero’s welcome.

"If you have a dream, aim for it," he told the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. "Anything is possible!"

If the students doubted it, they only needed to look closer at the story of the 26-year-old standing in front of them.

Butler is the essence of "anything is possible."

His story from undrafted/unwanted NFL player to Super Bowl hero is now well-documented, but it never really gets old. On Wednesday, he volunteered his time to salute a group of sixth-graders who created the "Kindness Club" to combat bullying and raise awareness of the serious issues around it.

"Bullying needs to be stopped. It can take a toll on a person. It can make someone not even want to come to school. I’ve been in that situation before," said Butler, who grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

"I know kids look up to me, and I know I can make a difference if I tell them what I went through and how I felt when someone bullied me. They look at me as a celebrity, but I’m telling them from the standpoint of 'I’m just like them; I’ve been through the same thing they’ve been through.'"

Butler went deeper.

"I didn’t have much coming up," he said. "They’d talk about my shoes, they’d talk about my clothes, just talking about you in general to try to make you feel down.

"Like I told the students, you can’t let that bring you down. You have to keep moving forward. You’re going to be getting judged and talked about your whole life, so you have to keep moving."

Wednesday’s event came together quickly as Butler, who has been training in Alabama, reached out to the team’s director of community relations, Donna Spigarolo, to see if there was any community outreach events at which he could help.

Butler’s initiative is reflective of how he’s worked to remain humble despite his life-changing interception to save the team’s Super Bowl XLIX victory against the Seattle Seahawks. He repeated multiple times afterwards that he has been focused on trying to become both a better football player and person.

"I needed to do this," he relayed. "Just coming out to the community and giving kids hope, letting them know dreams do come true. ...

"When people look up to you, you can change their life. I can remember being in school and when a basketball or football player would come to our school, I wouldn’t even talk to my friends, I was so zoned in about what that person was saying. It motivated me to be better.

"I just wanted to do something positive."