During Day 6 of "10 Days of Giving," the Cleveland Browns Foundation formally announced the presentation of a $100,000 grant from the Arby's Foundation that will benefit Akron Public Schools. The donation was officially shared with the district during a special Zoom visit on Tuesday, Nov. 24 and will be used to launch attendance resource teams at each of their 47 schools.
"We are extremely grateful for Akron Public Schools' leadership and for the Arby's Foundation, who have been steadfast partners of the 'Stay in the Game!' Network since the beginning of the initiative," said Vice President of the Cleveland Browns Foundation Renee Harvey. "Dr. David James and all of Akron Public Schools' faculty, students and families are more than deserving of this grant for their exceptional work during a typical year, in addition to their incredible dedication to ensuring kids remain engaged in school during this unique time. The Arby's Foundation is mission oriented and really cares about the kids in our community, and we greatly appreciate their continued support of Ohio's students and schools."
"We are excited to grant Akron Public Schools $100,000 through the Cleveland Browns Foundation's 'Stay in the Game!' Network to continue the awesome work that they have done keeping kids and families engaged in learning," said Arby's Manager of Brand Activation Jeff Schechter. "We know it is especially difficult right now to keep kids engaged in learning, and we are happy to do anything we can to help continue to create excitement around learning and being engaged in school."
"It has been a very difficult road for our students, our families and our teachers, but attendance and making sure that all of our students 'Stay in the Game' is really important to be sure that they are prepared for their future opportunities," said Dr. David James, superintendent of Akron Public Schools. "We extend a big thank you to Arby's, the Arby's Foundation and our partners at the Cleveland Browns Foundation for this incredible opportunity."
"Thank you to everyone for giving back to these loving kids," said LB Mack Wilson, who participated in the Zoom call and trivia games with Akron Public Schools fourth graders, along with T Jedrick Wills Jr.. "It is all about seeing those kids grow up to have everything they need to be in school and do their best to be great students. It is a blessing to be a part of it and hear what everyone is doing for these kids. It makes me happy and makes my heart smile."
Akron Public Schools is one of the 16 "Stay in the Game!" partner school districts that encompass more than 110,000 students across Ohio.
Through the grant, attendance resources teams will help bring teachers and school counselors together to monitor the needs of students and their families through 'connectors.' They will place an emphasis on attendance and intervene if a student misses too much virtual or in-person learning. Referral priorities focus on attendance, academic support and behavior. Additionally, connectors will help to resolve various attendance barriers, including but not limited to school supplies, hot spots and basic needs like transportation, food insecurity, clothing and housing assistance.
The Cleveland Browns are dedicated to improving the quality of education for students in Ohio by making investments that ensure kids are engaged and present every day so they can succeed, highlighted by the "Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day" Network. The "Stay in the Game!" Network is a statewide initiative designed to promote the importance of school attendance and put an end to chronic absenteeism. The team engages local school districts and promotes quality education by using attendance data and feedback from families to build a school-going culture, uncover and reduce common barriers to attendance and support engagement opportunities for students to thrive.
In the 2020-21 school year, the "Stay in the Game!" Network will partner with 16 school districts, benefitting more than 110,000 students in Ohio. An adaptation of the "Get 2 School, Stay In The Game!" Network, the name change reflects the current environment where schools may not necessarily be able to host in-school learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter the circumstances, the "Stay in the Game!" Network will continue to encourage and support students to maintain a strong educational-going mindset to keep learning, every day, aligned with its overall goal to help end chronic absenteeism and provide all students equal opportunities to be successful.
In addition to the team's First and Ten volunteering efforts, "10 Days of Giving" encompasses the Cleveland Browns Foundation's "Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day" Network and Browns Youth Football. The "Stay in the Game!" Network is focused on promoting equal educational opportunities for all students and school districts in Ohio, as well as combatting chronic absenteeism, while Browns Youth Football remains devoted to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout the state by helping inspire a love of the game.
All school faculty, students and family members are encouraged to take the "Stay in the Game!" attendance pledge at Get2School.org, which also hosts exclusive Cleveland Browns learning content and various educational resources throughout the year.
Following "10 Days of Giving," the Browns host the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium for Monday Night Football on Dec. 14. The team will highlight many significant initiatives as part of Browns Give Back's "Season of Giving" during the game, including recognition of local community partners and individuals who have made a meaningful impact on Northeast Ohio and beyond this season and throughout 2020.