As part of the Browns' continued effort to lift spirits throughout the holiday season, the team will begin a "10 Days of Giving" initiative on Sunday through the Browns First and Ten volunteering campaign to make an impact in Northeast Ohio, bring awareness to local community partners and to share stories of generosity to inspire Browns fans to give back to others during the holidays.
From December 9-18, the Browns will announce and highlight special community opportunities that rally the entire organization and Cleveland together to make a difference through the collaboration of executives, coaches, players, staff and Browns fans.
It was a busy final day to Browns' First and Ten: 10 Days of Giving 2018.
-- Kicker Greg Joseph and offensive lineman Earl Watford helped the Browns and American Dairy Association Mideast present Cleveland Metropolitan School District with a $20,000 grant on at Marion C Seltzer Elementary School through the NFL's 2018 Fuel Up to Play 60 Hometown Grant program. Joseph and Watford celebrated the school's efforts toward improving health and nutrition by presenting the check onsite, as well as interacting with third-, fourth and fifth-grade students.
The 2018 Hometown Grant will support the purchase of 13 breakfast merchandising carts for 13 schools throughout the district, which will provide healthy food options for CMSD students so they may "fuel greatness" to be fully prepared to learn all day and succeed in the classroom. The Hometown Grant program is focused on facilitating physical activity and healthy eating improvements for kids. This year, Fuel Up to Play 60 has matched the funds to result in a $20,000 contribution to the district project.
-- Browns quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Tyrod Taylor and Drew Stanton hosted a Shop with a Pro event in Cleveland to help give 50 kids from Cleveland Recreation Centers have a special holiday. Each child received $100 from the QBs to pick out holiday gifts for themselves and their family.
-- CB T.J. Carrie celebrated the holiday season by visiting families in the new cardiac step down unit at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and sharing a "Heart Warrior" message. Carrie's Santa bag was filled with the "T.J. Carrie Heart Shadow Buddy." The buddy, which was designed to be a "friend like me," has an incision down the chest and a red mended heart, complete with Browns shorts and a Carrie t-shirt. Carrie often shows his "zipper" scar when sharing his experiences with children who have similar scars.
Carrie was diagnosed with a one-in-a-million heart defect while he was a freshman in high school. Carrie and his family made the decision to undergo open heart surgery to repair his heart defect, which was performed on Valentine's Day in 2006 by Dr. Frank Hanley at Oakland Children's Hospital. After a long recovery, Carrie was able to return to high school football and chase his dreams to the NFL.
-- Browns rookie DB Denzel Ward, who was named to his first Pro Bowl on Tuesday, visited James A. Garfield Elementary School to deliver coats to children for the winter.
Joel Bitonio and his teammates hosted "Shop with a Pro," taking 30 Cleveland Rec. Center kids out for holiday shopping as part of the Cleveland Browns First and Ten 10 Days of Giving.
OL Joel Bitonio officially hosted his first "Shop with a Pro" event this evening at DICK's Sporting Goods on Day 9 of 10 Days of Giving. After participating in former Browns OL Joe Thomas' "Shop with a Pro" night every year since he was drafted, Bitonio was inspired to carry on the tradition and make sure that children from Cleveland Recreation Centers enjoy a special holiday season.
Thanks to the generosity of Bitonio and his wife, Courtney, the Browns captain and fellow teammates helped 30 kids select holiday presents of their choosing as everyone received $200 to spend on themselves, family and friends. Each student also selected a new pair of shoes during the shopping spree. Bitonio and the team greatly appreciate the contributions of the DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation, which has helped bring joy to Cleveland Recreation Center youth for multiple years during this annual event.
Joining the giving spirit, QB Tyrod Taylor also collected and distributed coats to more than 100 kids tonight to support the Metanoia Project Shelter in Cleveland. The event was made possible through the Tyrod Taylor Foundation.
As part of its commitment to education, the Browns and Lorain City School District officially launched the "Titan Pride Uniform Program," benefitting youth who may not attend class due to a lack of access to suitable clothing.
The Browns are highlighting Lorain City School District's leaders, faculty and students for emphasizing school attendance and the launch of an attendance-focused program the Browns Give Back earlier this month.
On December 4, Browns Give Back presented Lorain City School District with a $70,000 grant to help further its commitment to school attendance. DB T.J. Carrie – whose wife went to school in Lorain – K Greg Joseph, DB Terrance Mitchell and DL Chad Thomas visited Toni Morrison Elementary School to kick off the "Titan Pride Uniform Program." The initiative is focused on assisting youth who may not attend class due to a lack of access to suitable clothing, allowing deserving students to properly focus on school and the learning process. Scholars receive three Lorain polo shirts, two pairs of pants, one t-shirt and a belt to ensure they are able to regularly go to school as the availability of proper or clean clothing often serves as a barrier to strong attendance.
Additionally, each school in the district will provide a "Titan Pride Locker" system through the grant. In the event of an immediate, unexpected clothing need, youth will have an opportunity to discretely borrow items from their school's supply, providing students the ability to remain in class and not fall behind in their education.
The Cleveland Browns are dedicated to improving the quality of education for students in Northeast Ohio by making investments that keep kids in school every day so they can succeed. Browns Give Back engages local schools and promotes education in various capacities throughout the year to help identify and remove attendance barriers and support engagement opportunities for students to thrive by monitoring attendance patterns to help understand how best to support students and schools. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
The Cleveland Browns surprised Lisa Ciofani on Day 7 of 10 Days of Giving by naming her the team's next honorary First and Ten Coin Toss Captain. Prior to kickoff of the Bengals-Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium, Lisa will be on the sidelines and join Browns captains at the 50-yard line for the coin toss. Lisa was chosen for this unique opportunity after sharing how she gives back to the community by being a part of a team that raised nearly $7,000 at the Autism Speaks Cleveland Walk. This holiday season, she adopted a family through our local community center to help make Christmas a little more special for them. Finally, she single-handedly donated nearly six large collection boxes full of unwrapped toys to a Toys for Tots collection at work to #give10 and support youth in Cuyahoga County.
Through Browns Give Back's First and Ten volunteering movement, one Browns fan is recognized as a team captain during each home game after using #give10 online to help inspire others to improve Northeast Ohio community through volunteerism. Representatives selected have included youth football coaches, students who dedicate time to philanthropic organizations, community leaders and more.
Browns Give Back headed to Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Almira Elementary School to congratulate students and faculty for making marked improvements in their attendance. The team and mascot Chomps delivered a special Arby's lunch to third-grade students to celebrate their efforts, as well as provided Browns-themed school supplies to help encourage them to get to school and ensure they can excel in the classroom.
The Browns also commend CMSD for its continued commitment to inspiring students and families to ensure scholars are going to school, as well as educating them on the significance of making it to class every day. Browns Give Back has partnered with CMSD for the "Get 2 School. You Can Make It!" attendance campaign for the past four years, which has helped reduce the number of students with off-track attendance by nearly 22 percent. It has resulted in more than 4,100 additional students improving their attendance habits compared to previous years, which significantly increases their chances of learning, graduating high school and enabling them to become ready for what the future holds.
Focusing on attendance as a core component to students' success, Browns Give Back is dedicated to improving the quality of education for scholars in Northeast Ohio by making investments that help keep kids in school every day so they can succeed. To learn more about the impact of school attendance and the "Get 2 School. You Can Make It!" campaign, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
At the midway point of 10 Days of Giving, the Browns extend their appreciation for the players' significant work and time dedicated to improving our community throughout the year. While players regularly show their love of Cleveland on and off the field, last week marked a special occasion as players and team representatives presented Towards Employment a $75,000 grant as part of their commitment to social unity and equality initiatives.
Multiple Browns players – TE Seth DeValve, LB Christian Kirksey, DL Brian Price and OL Earl Watford – visited Towards Employments' Bloom Bakery on Friday to present the check and interact with staff members who are making meaningful strides to build critical work skills and ultimately find full-time employment after being incarcerated. The donation to Towards Employment, comprised of personal donations from Browns players and a contribution from the team, is the first of multiple grants that will focus on social equality efforts in Cleveland through the NFL's new matching club grant program.
For more information on Towards Employment, including its operation of Bloom Bakery, visit http://towardsemployment.org/.
The Cleveland Browns extended a special invitation to the five 2018 state championship football teams from Northeast Ohio to attend this afternoon's practice. Coaches and team captains from St. Edward (Division I), Archbishop Hoban (Division II), Kentson (Division III), Orville (Division V) and Kirtland (Division VI) joined the team for a private tour and lunch at its facility in Berea, highlighted by a VIP viewing of practice and a meet-and-greet with Browns players, coaches and staff. The day provided a unique opportunity to recognize local high school programs for their on-field achievements, as well as their commitment to success in the classroom and within the Cleveland community.
The Browns are always proud to support the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Coaches, parents, volunteers and youth athletes are encouraged to visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback to learn more about opportunities for youth or high school football programs in the area.
Terrance Mitchell was honored with the Ed Block Courage Award and Baker Mayfield attended the event, helping to raise more than $100,000 for Providence House. All proceeds go toward funding the Providence House's efforts to save at-risk or neglected children.
Tonight, the Browns celebrate 10 Days of Giving with Providence House during the organization's annual Deck the House Benefit Auction. Throughout the evening, Providence House raised awareness and funds to support its important mission of protecting at-risk children by assisting families through crisis situations and strengthening the Cleveland community to help end child abuse and neglect.
Providence House, a First and Ten community partner and the Cleveland Browns Courage House for Children since 1999, has regularly hosted the event at FirstEnergy Stadium. The team greatly appreciates the commitment of Providence House staff and volunteers to make the event a success, as well as the generous contributions from notable alumni and current players, including former LT Joe Thomas and his wife, Annie. This year, Browns alumnus WR/KR and special teams coaching intern Josh Cribbs and his wife, Maria, served as honorary co-chairs, while DB Terrance Mitchell was also recognized as the Browns recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
For more information on Providence House', visit www.provhouse.org.
On Day 2 of 10 Days of Giving, General Manager John Dorsey helped the Browns give away $25,000 worth of XENITH helmets to the Akron Parent Pee Wee Football Association, which was selected by a random draw this afternoon. The Browns were inspired to gift helmets to a local youth football league this holiday season to show the team's great appreciation to the coaches, volunteers, parents and players who make Northeast Ohio a great place to learn and love the great game of football.
The Akron Parent Pee Wee Football Association, a USA Football Heads Up certified league, was named the winner among 10 Northeast Ohio youth football organizations (more than 80 programs were part of the draw, which was randomly narrowed to 10 for the selection today). All of the leagues in the running for today's gift aspire to be Heads Up certified after completing the 2018 Cleveland Browns Youth Football Regional Assessment that launched in November.
Regular helmet donations are a key element to the Browns' commitment to the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football in Northeast Ohio, in addition to year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' focus is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.
The Browns rolled out several initiatives Sunday to kick off First and 10 Days of Giving for the 2018 holiday season.
-- Before today's game, Cleveland hosted its annual Browns Give Back First and Ten Toy Drive, presented by Electronic Merchant Systems. Browns fans brought new unwrapped gifts ($10+) for kids in need within Cuyahoga County, and members of the US Marine Corps and Electronic Merchant Systems volunteers collected items and monetary contributions at FirstEnergy Stadium gates as fans entered the stadium. Continuing its generosity from last year's festivities, Electronic Merchant Systems once again hosted a company-wide toy drive prior to Sunday's game and pledged $5,000 to kick off the event to help provide a memorable holiday to many children in Northeast Ohio. The Browns, Electronic Merchant Systems and Cleveland fans collected more than $25,000, plus more than 800 toy donations, for local youth during the holidays through the 2017 Browns Give Back First and Ten Toy Drive.
-- During the game, the Browns will also announce the team's 2018 High School Coach of the Year. The Browns High School Coach of the Year award is based on a coach's overall body of work during the regular season and postseason after being featured in the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week, in association with LECOM. All of this year's nominees were invited to attend today's game against Carolina, while their schools also each received $1,500 grants from the Browns to benefit their programs.
As part of the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats campaign, 30 Browns players designed custom cleats to raise awareness for charitable initiatives that have a personal meaning to each player. Take a look at some of the cleats our players will be wearing during Weeks 13-15.
-- Browns players continued to wear special, custom-made cleats as part of the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign. The My Cause, My Cleats initiative, launched in 2016, is a culmination of collaborative work between the NFL and players across the league through which more than 800 players plan to raise awareness for philanthropic organizations and movements by wearing unique cleats.
-- Before the game, linebacker Christian Kirksey was honored as the team's 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. Giving back to youth and social equality initiatives are important core focuses for Kirksey when volunteering his time in the community each year. With the launch of his Kirkoland Foundation this past spring, he strives to provide opportunities for local kids in need, most recently, his local bowling event to support kids from a local school, bringing kids to Cedar Point or sporting events in the offseason. He has also dedicated numerous hours visiting neighborhoods in Cleveland and most recently met kids at a local Rec Center alongside of safety forces who work in the neighborhoods to show unity.
-- Kaylon Cowan-Ross and Omowonuola Obasa were recognized as the 2018 Marion Motley Scholarship recipients. Kaylon and Omowonuola were recognized in an on-field check presentation with Browns alumni Dick Ambrose, and served as the honorary Coin Toss Captains for the game. In partnership with College Now Greater Cleveland, Browns Give Back offers a scholarship every year to two Greater Cleveland high school students in honor of former Cleveland Browns fullback Marion Motley. Browns Give Back has offered the Marion Motley Scholarship for thirteen years, and has awarded $260,000 in scholarship money to 26 students.
The Cleveland Browns give back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through our signature First and Ten volunteer movement.