East Cleveland City Schools, one of the 16 "Stay in the Game" partner school districts that encompass more than 110,000 students across Ohio, will receive $350,000 from player, coach and team contributions to provide families, students and educators with the tools, training and equipment necessary to enhance their educational efforts, which are even more paramount now due to remote learning needs as a result of COVID-19 protocols.
"I feel overwhelmed that the Browns are leveling the playing field of education," said Marc Antony Johnson, a student at Kirk Middle School. "My friends and schoolmates sometimes feel that because of where we are from and how limited our resources are, that we don't' matter. The Browns caring enough to help us goes a long way to make us feel like a whole student!"
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.
"A lot of times, we do not understand the basic needs and necessities that people on a day-to-day basis do not have access to," Browns DT Larry Ogunjobi said. "A lot of times, we feel like everybody has access to a computer, a laptop and internet access, but that is not always the case, seeing the numbers and seeing how staggering the divide was in certain homes that had no internet connectivity at all and no access.
"Due to the fact that everything is moving virtual, people can't be in school physically and everything is online. If you have no internet or bad internet, it makes the learning process so much more difficult for these kids. That is a disadvantage that is unfair to them."
"We firmly believe that education is the key to success for Northeast Ohio and all of our shared communities," said Dee and Jimmy Haslam. "Our family and the Browns remain dedicated to providing educational resources and opportunities to schools and students, and we greatly appreciate our players' and coaches' significant contributions to this collective effort that will benefit East Cleveland City Schools. Every child deserves equal access to a high-quality education, and we all must continue to unite together and address any and all existing barriers, including those related to the digital divide."
The Browns have invited more than 80 students, parents and faculty to the game this Sunday and will recognize them for their continued efforts to Stay in the Game and Keep Learning. Select Browns players will also wear "Stay in the Game!" t-shirts during pregame warmups to show their support and further bring light to the significantly negative impact of chronic absenteeism for educators, families and students.
Fans are encouraged to support the "Stay in the Game!" initiative and its efforts to address the digital divide by donating gently used desktop computers, laptops, monitors and other computer accessories to be refurbished and redistributed by PCs for People to low-income families. Approved list of accepted donations include: Cell phones, tablets, desktop computers (within last 5 years, laptops, LCD Monitors (all sizes), Plasma screens, LED screens, keyboards, mice, printers, speakers, hard drives, memory, power cords and any computer accessories! For more details on PCs for People, visit https://www.pcsforpeople.org/about-us/.
Those who contribute to the Browns' Digital Device Drive at FirstEnergy Stadium will receive a coupon for a 10 percent discount at the Browns Pro Shop. On gamedays throughout November, drop-off locations will be located near the bag-check tents on the northeast and southwest corners of the stadium. During all other days of the month, individuals will be able to submit their items outside of the Browns Pro Shop.
To learn more about the "Stay in the Game!" Network, visit Get2School.org.