"When the opportunity came along, I couldn't say no," Cam Newton tells PEOPLE
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Credit: Courtesy The Cam Newton Foundation

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has always been outspoken about helping kids. As the head of the Cam Newton Foundation, he has sponsored events and programs to raise funds for underprivileged youth.

But now Newton, 26, is taking his crusade to an even wider audience.

The NFL star has signed on to host a new Nickelodeon docuseries, tentatively called I Wanna Be. The 20-episode series will follow Newton as he helps real kids from all walks of life as they reach for their dreams.

In each episode, Newton will step into the lives of two different children and embark on real-life adventures. From performing on Broadway to decorating cakes with award-winning bakers, the kids – and Newton – will be pushed out of their comfort zones as they try things they’ve never done before.

Newton tells PEOPLE that he’s thrilled to be part of the show. “This is an unbelievable opportunity,” Newton says. “I am a big kid at heart. I began to understand the potential of how to give back to kids through my work with my foundation.”

“People know me for my nickname of Superman on the field,” he adds, “but this show is a platform to show kids that they don t necessarily have to be an athlete to bring out the superhero inside.”

“It’s bringing out the superpower that it takes to be a teacher, to be a scientist, to be a doctor,” he says. “It’s showing kids that every superhero is different and that those unique aspects of all of us, are what makes us turn in to who we know we can be.”

But Newton, who recently signed a reported $103.8 million contract with the Carolina Panthers, won’t have to put football on hold; the show will tape during the NFL offseason.

“When this opportunity with the show came around, I couldn’t say no,” he says. “It’s everything that I stand for.”