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Founder' s Story 

Passionate About Inspiring Others

Marcus Alston was born and raised in Howard County, MD. His parents divorced when he was 4 years old. The divorce left him with a lot of psychological and emotional trauma. This caused for him to act out in school, so he would later get enrolled into youth football at the age of 7. He suffered from two concussions at the ages of 9 and 11.

Marcus_Alston-AFA_Headshot.jpeg
Founder, Executive Director

Marcus attended Mount Saint Joseph's High School, where he played Basketball and Football. He was a member of he 2011 BCL Championship team. He also received 1st team All-MIAA and 1st team Private School All-State honors in 2011. Marcus suffered a Lisfranc Fracture his Senior season in 2012. Due to the severity of his injury, he came off a lot of recruiting boards from schools such as Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and his dream school, Florida.


Despite Marcus's injury, he was still blessed enough to receive a scholarship in 2013 to play Division 1-AA Football at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA. Marcus began to notice a change in his mental health his Freshman year of college. During this time, he was going third foot surgery and had recently lost his Grandmother. He began to see a counselor on-campus and during this time, he was diagnosed with situational depression. It took Marcus until his Senior year of college to see playing time on the football field. He still battled injuries by playing the season with two torn labrums and tendinitis in his knees, but persevering through those injuries help him lead Saint Francis to its first conference title as a Division 1 program in 2016.

In 2017, Marcus began a toxic relationship that ended in September 2018. During this time, Marcus was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, an emotional disorder which he was dealing with majority of his life. The outcome of Marcus's illness was far out of his control, so this put Marcus in an extremely dark phase in his life. But through that dark phase, he finally found his purpose in life and that's helping student athletes overcome their mental health challenges. So, Marcus founded Alston for Athletes (AFA) in September 2019 to pursue this mission!

Since his diagnosis, Marcus was nominated to Mental Health America's (MHA) Young Mental Health Leaders Council (YMHLC) in September 2020. He was named winner of the Howard County Changemaker Challenge in November 2021. Shortly after, he was appointed to the Board of Directors for NAMI Maryland in January 2022. In March 2022, Marcus was named a participant in MTV's Inaugural Mental Health Youth Action Forum. His goal is to partner with community foundations and school systems across the country, to provide mental health trainings for coaches and scholarships for student-athletes!

Certifications & Memberships
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor

  • Mental Health First Aid USA

  • NAMI MD Board of Directors (2022-2024)

  • MHA's Young Mental Health Leaders Council (2020-2021)

  • MTV's Mental Health Youth Action Forum Participant (2022)

  • IDONTMIND's Youth Impact Team (2023)

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