CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns defensive back
Haden met with and encouraged students from the Fairfax neighborhood to continue with their studies and the importance of an education. His visit came a few weeks after former Browns defensive back Hanford Dixon joined the center for their kickoff event. The center set a goal of reading 20,000 minutes as a community.
“It means a lot,” Haden said. “I would want somebody to do this for me. Living in D.C., if the Redskins or Ravens would have come out, it would’ve been a real big deal. I just try to do the same. They put smiles on my face when I come out here. I enjoy their company.
“Reading makes you have more and more opportunities, just lets you (get) knowledge and lets you know what’s going on. Reading is definitely a big part of my studying. I have to take a whole lot of notes, stay on top of my game, know the game plan, read the game plan. That’s definitely a big part of it.”
The PNC Fairfax Connection was opened in late September and since that time, nearly 250 people have joined the center. The PNC Fairfax Connection center offers programs and access to knowledge and tools to all citizens of the community, including students, senior citizens and small business owners who are focused on achieving their goals.
Through the programs, citizens learn computer skills, financial education and media technology, as well as overcoming barriers to employment through resume writing clinics and improving reading skills among students.
“What we do is a direct reflection of what we heard the community wants and needs, so a great deal of time went into developing programs that are offered today,” said Kristen Baird Adams, senior vice president and managing director of Client & Community Relations for PNC in Cleveland. “What we offer today is a direct reflection of what we’ve heard on a consistent basis from the community in a pretty comprehensive body of work in leading up to the opening of the center.
“What it speaks to is the ability for the kids to continue to dream. Really, it’s the culmination of all the hard work that’s gone into making this physical space available to the community, making it of the community and connecting children and their families, individuals and small business owners with resources that support their aspirations and help them achieve their own goals.”
Brandon Lipford, program facilitator for the center, said the ability to reach many generations with the programs is befitting of the Fairfax neighborhood.
“There are many, many households where there are three generations all living in the same house,” Lipford said. “Sometimes, you have grandparents raising their grandkids as if they were their own kids or grandparents, parents and grandchildren living in the same house. The fabric of the neighborhood is intergenerational and so, our programs reflect that.”
Nicole Peters, director of client services for the Browns, added, “It’s a very unique way of bringing together the history of this neighborhood. They want to revitalize the neighborhood and bring it back to what it was.”
For more information on how to participate in the Touchdown for Reading program at PNC Fairfax Connection, visit the center at 8220 Carnegie Avenue or call 216-391-4677.