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Browns host first "Cleveland Huddle Pathway" in celebration with Black History Month

Students from Euclid City Schools, a Stay in the Game! school district, attended panel conversation with Browns employees to learn about career opportunities in sports

Cle Huddle Pathway

About 40 students and chaperones from Euclid City Schools spent a day at the Cleveland Browns CrossCountry Mortgage Campus as a part of the first "Cleveland Huddle Pathway."

The Browns launched "Cleveland Huddle Pathway," in conjunction with their Black History Month programming, as an opportunity to educate high school students on a wide array of careers available in the sports industry – outside of being a professional athlete.

In collaboration with the Stay in the Game! Attendance Network, the students from Euclid City Schools were selected to attend the event as a reward for being leaders in their schools and showing a commitment to improved and good school attendance. The Stay in the Game! Attendance Network is a statewide movement and learning network designed to dramatically improve attendance for Ohio students. The Network currently partners with 56 Ohio school districts to positively impact more than 260,000 students through attendance support and interventions.

To understand the athlete side of the NFL, the students heard from DT Maurice Hurst, who shared about his journey to the NFL and asked the students about their future career goals. Hurst shared the importance of attending school and working hard, both which led him to where he is now. Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Personnel Glenn Cook shared his story and challenged the students to three goals: to be curious, to engage and to dream.

"It's to keep them motivated," Euclid City Schools Attendance and Residency Coordinator Jerimie Acree said. "At the end of the day, we understand that some days are hard. And so, just to keep them on the right path and say hey, hard work pays off. That's huge. And so again, to have them be a part of, for some, a once in a lifetime opportunity, is huge. Our hope is that it continues to motivate them but then maybe they'll go back to their classes, the school and the communities at large and inspire somebody else that might be at a fork in the road and might not know which way to go."

Following a tour of the facility, they wrapped up the day with a panel, moderated by News 5 Cleveland sports reporter Camryn Justice, with staff members of the Browns across different areas of the organization. Panelists from the Browns included Dominique Page (Communications), Iman Warren (Corporate Partnerships), Cory Blessing (Support Services), Brenan Betro (Social Media) and Danielle Lewis (Events).

Chief Communications Officer Peter John-Baptiste kicked off the panel discussion, sharing a piece of his own story.

"I think about my time back in the day when I was your age, and I always thought about what my career could be," John-Baptiste said. "And oftentimes, I didn't see people sitting in the seats that looked like me in the places that I wanted to get to. And I'm from far away – I'm from the Virgin Islands – so really thinking about the dream of coming to the United States and working in professional sports, it was a huge dream and something I never really thought I could accomplish. But, with the help of many, and with the drive of myself of keeping my eye on the prize, I've been able to work in the NFL for 27 seasons – 10 with the Browns."

Students also posed questions to the panel about their individual journeys through high school and into their current role, their time with the Browns and the importance of school. They shared takeaways from their time, from learning about different jobs inside a professional sports organization, how different roles can overlap and the importance of building connections in the industry.

To Acree, those takeaways were the purpose of Tuesday's event, with the goal of expanding the horizon of students to a career they could imagine themselves in.

"To get them out to inspire, motivate and just enlighten them so they can do more," Acree said. "It's bigger than just Euclid.  When I was in college at Baldwin Wallace College, just being able to travel outside the country and see different organizations and take part in events really motivated me to do more. So that's what the goal was for today."

The "Cleveland Huddle Pathway" is one of the different avenues apart of the Browns' Cleveland Huddle campaign. In its fourth year of programming, the Cleveland Huddle campaign seamlessly integrates into the team's Black History Month celebration and #BeTheSolution platform. This campaign champions Black-owned restaurants and extends support to those in need by providing hunger relief.

Throughout the month of February, the club highlighted No ForkCrispy Chick and Black Box Fix — contributing meals to Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries (No Fork), Laura's Home Women's Crisis Center (Crispy Chick), and offering lunch to Browns staff members at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus (Black Box Fix).

Since its inception in February 2021, the Cleveland Huddle has made a positive impact by serving food from over 10 different restaurants and local non-profit organizations in Cleveland.

The Browns continued their efforts in featuring Black-owned restaurants to close the day for
Cleveland Huddle Pathway, providing lunch from Sauce the City to the students and chaperones in attendance. Sauce the City was one of the first restaurants that they worked with in the launching the Cleveland Huddle campaign.

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