The Browns are sending four fans to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Feb. 13 for Super Bowl LVI after each of them displayed exemplary actions around Northeast Ohio that align with the core values of Browns Give Back.
Raheem Stanfield, Jeremy Powell, Dr. Shay Price and Brandon Chrostowski will all receive two tickets each from the Browns and have their travel and hotel fees paid for by United Airlines, the official airline and community development partner of the Cleveland Browns, after they each dedicated considerable time toward making a difference in other people's lives in various ways.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with each of them to share their stories.
Raheem Stanfield - Promoting bystander CPR
Stanfield has dedicated himself toward educating others about the life-saving effects of bystander CPR after his own life was saved through the technique in 2016.
Stanfield, a Case Western alum who was 25 at the time, was playing basketball when he felt a sudden burst of fatigue. He walked off the court with a friend over to a water fountain, where he took a sip of water, sat down and then collapsed. Stanfield suffered a minor stroke, but he had his life saved by a bystander who worked at University Hospitals and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Stanfield, who had no known pre-existing conditions, was unconscious for six days after the episode but was able to slowly recover over the course of six weeks at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center.
In the years since his episode, Stanfield has educated several people about how learning CPR can save lives.
"It saved my life, so I have to pay it forward," he said. "If anybody else is in that situation, they also need as many people as possible that would know how to help."
Stanfield's actions are directly in line with the core goals of the Make Them Know Your Name Foundation, created by Browns cornerback Denzel Ward after his father passed away in 2016 due to cardiac arrest. Ward's sister-in-law, Vanessa, was also coincidentally a part of the nursing team that aided Stanfield in his recovery.
Teaching heart health and proper CPR application has been one of the biggest focal points Ward has preached in community events since he was drafted by the Browns in 2018. He was nominated as the Browns' recipient for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2021 and was able to provide a fan with two Super Bowl tickets, and he and the MTKYN Foundation selected Stanfield after hearing his story and how it perfectly fit the mission of the foundation.
"When we heard about what Raheem had gone through and how he was using his story to help create awareness for Heart Health, we knew it aligned directly with what we do at MTKYN," said Nicole Ward, Denzel's mother. "It's great for Denzel to be able to bless him with an incredible opportunity of attending the Super Bowl."
Stanfield will take his girlfriend, Lara, who is a nurse and also CPR certified, with the second ticket. He found out he'd be receiving the tickets on a surprise Zoom call with Ward.
"It took everything within myself to not completely freak out," Stanfield said with a laugh. "I held that inside until we got off the call, and then I freaked out."
Jeremy Powell - First and Ten Volunteer Service
The idea started out as something simple and straightforward: Powell, a youth football league director in Copley who grew up in inner city Akron, wanted to give three kids at Eagle Elementary School a new pair of shoes.
He wasn't going to give them any normal type of sneakers, either — he wanted to provide them with the pair of shoes kids dream of taking off the rack in a shoe store. He was going to buy them a pair from LeBron James' shoeline, or Giannis Antetokounmpo's, or any other popular NBA player with a top-tier, high-demand pair of signature sneakers.
Powell executed the idea for the first time in 2019, and three lucky kids at Eagle Elementary received a new pair of kicks.
The next year, Powell went even bigger. He spread the word about his shoe donation and had a few others around the Northeast Ohio community chip in to deliver 35 new pairs of shoes.
But for Powell, it still didn't feel like enough.
"We felt bad, actually," he said. "We were like, 'Man, there's 135 kids in the school, and we just gave away 35 shoes. The other 100 probably don't feel great, right?'"
So this year, Powell's project — which was also made possible with the help of his friend, Tony Klein — covered the entire school. All 135 kids at Eagle Elementary received a new pair of signature brand sneakers thanks to the help of Powell, donors from the Northeast Ohio community and Klein, who bought shoes for the entire school's 4th grade class.
"The thing that was so awesome and incredible was that we did it completely organically," Powell said. "We didn't get money from any corporation. This was all individuals helping individuals that they will never meet. It was all just to brighten that kid's day and help them, and I think that's an incredible thing."
Powell received the email informing him that he had won two Super Bowl tickets because of the shoe project and how it aligned with the Browns' First and Ten Campaign, launched in June 2014 and established to inspire fans to #give10 and help their communities by volunteering for 10 hours each year.
Powell immediately knew who he had to take with him with his second ticket. He forwarded the email to Klein, who then called Powell in a tidal wave of excitement after Powell informed him he was going to go with him.
"He hit the floor," Powell said. "He was more excited than me."
Powell plans to continue the shoe donations in the future and wants to expand it to provide kids with shoes beyond just the holiday season. He said he still has a few leftover donations in his house and wants to be able to provide a kid with shoes if they are ever in need of a pair. He also plans to continue providing Eagle Elementary with shoe donations during each holiday season.
"What I would like to do going forward is to just be a person that anybody can reach out to for a kid in need in inner city Akron," he said. "If a school knows of a kid whose shoes are in poor condition, they could contact me, and I could help."
Dr. Shay Price - "Stay in the Game" Educator
Price, the principal of Maple Heights High School, was nominated by her colleagues to be the "Stay in the Game" Educator Champion because of her commitment to providing positive opportunities and experiences for her students. She has embraced the core values of the "Stay in the Game, Keep Learning Everyday!" Network and has prioritized student attendance at Maple Heights by strengthening the bonds between educators and students in the school.
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. Over the next 10 years, the "Stay in the Game!" Network seeks to cut the rate of chronic absenteeism in half — to 8.5 percent, or approximately 130,000 students.
"The one thing that I worked on was just changing the culture for the staff," said Price, who has been principal of the school for six years and has worked in education for 20 years. "It's about getting them to see that we are family here and we support each other, and if you do that, then things will start working better for us when it comes to academics and behavior. I'm big on that. We are a family."
One of Price's top examples happens every Wednesday. That's "Stay in the Game" day at Maple Heights, and teachers and students are encouraged to wear "Stay in the Game" T-shirts. Teachers are also allowed to wear jeans.
Price wants the day to feel relaxed — as if it's an early Friday — and create a vibe that everyone is halfway home toward the end of the school week.
"We want to encourage the students to hang in there," she said. "It's only two more days. You've got this. You've made it this far, so let's finish the week out strong. It makes a difference. It's not just about having the shirt on. It's a day to motivate our students to finish strong."
Price found out about her Super Bowl tickets during a mid-game presentation during Week 8 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Brittan Berry, wife of Browns Executive Vice President and GM Andrew Berry, surprised Price with the tickets, and Price, who plans to take her husband, will never forget the feeling of overjoy she felt when she heard over the loudspeakers that she would be receiving tickets.
"I never in my wildest imagination thought (the presentation) would be for two Super Bowl tickets," she said. "It was just amazing, and I'm looking forward to going, and I was so excited to see so many people were also excited for me."
Brandon Chrostowski - Social Justice Action
Chrostowski caught a life-changing break when he was released from jail at the age of 18.
Chrostowski, who faced a 10-year prison sentence, was instead sentenced to a year of probation and freed from jail. His life immediately began to turn around after his release when he started working with a Detroit-area chef, George Kalergis, who taught him his way around the kitchen and mentored him with the skills to attend The Culinary Institute of America in New York.
But earning a culinary degree and opening opportunities for chef jobs across the country wasn't enough for Chrostowski. He was thankful for being granted a chance to leave jail and pursue a rewarding career, and he wanted others who were re-entering society from incarceration to have those opportunities, too.
So he created the EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, a nonprofit organization that offers formerly incarcerated adults a foundation in the culinary and hospitality industries and a support network for long-term success. Chrostowski founded the institute in 2007 in Cleveland and named it after his grandfather. "EDWINS" also is in conjunction with the phrase "education wins."
Since its opening, EDWINS has grown to include an award-winning fine French restaurant, butcher shop, bakery and "edwins too," a culinary incubator and community kitchen. The institute graduates 100 students a year and has helped others gain employment in dining establishments across the country.
"It feels great," Chrostowski said, "but there's still an urge to do more. This is a really big topic that is vast, deep, wide and far. It affects everyone, and if it doesn't affect them, then it affects their family. It stretches so far. When you think of how much we've done, we think about how much more we have to do."
Chrostowski compared the phone call of hearing he'd be receiving Super Bowl tickets to when he learned he'd been invited to the red carpet for the 90th Academy Awards, which he attended after a documentary, "Knife Skills," was filmed about EDWINS and nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject. He plans on taking one of his graduates, Jamal Williams, with his second ticket.
"This is just going to be a super trip," Chrostowski said. "We're going to go out and shake it up together and have a great time."