BEREA, Ohio -- The start of football season comes at the same time that summer vacation winds down and the Cleveland Browns’ youngest fans return to school for another year of learning. The Browns are committed to giving children in the city of Cleveland the best opportunity to succeed -- in and out of the classroom.
In preparation for the upcoming school year, the team partnered with Shoes and Clothes for Kids for the sixth-annual Cleveland Browns Back to School Campaign and gave brand new backpacks and gift cards for a new pair of shoes to 100 Cleveland-area children at their Berea training facility Tuesday.
Students also participated in an NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition.
“The Back to School Campaign provides children the opportunity to shop and select brand new shoes which many of the recipients haven’t been able to do,” said Renee Harvey, vice president of community outreach for the Browns. “This builds self-esteem which translates into better performance in school. We feel it is important to help provide necessary supplies and tools to begin the school year.
“The Browns are continuously involved in community programming with focus on citizenship, education, health & wellness and youth football. Through different initiatives, we are able to reach fans throughout Northeast Ohio.”
During the past six years, the Cleveland Browns Foundation has helped Shoes and Clothes for Kids distribute nearly 20,000 shoe gift cards. In addition to Tuesday’s event, the Browns Foundation’s partnership with Shoes and Clothes for Kids will allow the distribution of 5,150 shoe gift cards and other items in 2013.
In addition to the Browns’ Back to School Campaign, the team is involved in promoting education during the entire season. Through a partnership with College Now Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Browns’ Marion Motley Scholarship Program -- named for one of the team’s 16 Pro Football Hall of Famers -- the team awards two four-year renewable college scholarships each year.
The Browns also support education through the Touchdown for Reading program, which encourages elementary-school students to track their reading minutes online and score touchdowns for prizes.
“Education is one of the Browns’ focus areas for outreach and it is essential not only for the students, but their families and communities,” Harvey said. “We build programming to appeal to all grade levels.
“Kids look up to the athletes because of their athleticism, but once we have their attention, it is important for them to be able to deliver critical messages such as working hard in school, doing their homework, respect others and to make healthy choices. Professional athletes have a powerful platform and can have such a positive impact on them.”
ABOUT SHOES AND CLOTHES FOR KIDS
Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K) is the only non-profit organization in Greater Cleveland providing new shoes and clothes at no charge throughout the year to thousands of children in need. Through a network of 35 distribution partners, SC4K positively impacts the lives of area children by giving them the self-esteem and confidence that comes from having brand new shoes and clothes. Founded in 1969, SC4K will distribute new clothing and Payless shoe gift cards with a retail value of over $2.4 million to 25,000 children from income-eligible families throughout Greater Cleveland in 2013. Of every dollar donated to SC4K, $0.93 goes directly to the programs and services that benefit the children served. For more information, contact Sharon Boyes, director of development and communications, at 216-881-7463, ext. 4 or log on to www.sc4k.org. Follow us on Twitter @sc4k. #Browns4CLEkids
ABOUT THE CLEVELAND BROWNS FOUNDATION
The Cleveland Browns Foundation is dedicated to supporting local charities and non-profit organizations by providing funding and support in the areas of citizenship, education, health and wellness and youth football.