By: Leah Kraus
Following the teams’ morning meetings and workouts on Wednesday, several Cleveland Browns players visited and interacted with children who attend the after-school program at the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland.
Christopher West, Director of Resource Development and Administration at the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland said, “It means a lot to the youth we serve, to have these guys come out. It shows the kids that they really care about them and the community. The kids we serve don’t usually get these types of opportunities or exposure to the athletes they idolize. It allows them to really feel like they are worth something, like they are cared about.”
They shot basketballs and played games of “Knockout,” joined in a football toss and even participated in a large game of jump rope.
The visit brought back childhood memories for James-Michael Johnson.
Johnson attended similar after-school programs in his hometown while he was in elementary and middle school.
“It is really important for these kids to see us in the community,” Johnson said. “This is a great place for these kids to come and stay off the streets while forming friendships. I went to a place like this that helped me stay on the right path. Some of the kids I went to the after-school program I am still friends with.”
Wade added “I really enjoy coming here with the kids. I think it’s great for us to give a little of our time. When I was a kid, I would have loved the opportunity to hang out with professional athletes. It lets the kids know we really care about them.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland has 11 Club sites, that serve nearly 7,400 youth annually and over 700 kids per day. Kids ages 6-18 can join the Boys & Girls Club for only $10/year. This fee is more of an investment for the kids as a way for them to take pride in the club. To learn more about the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland visit www.clevekids.org.