Kendall Lamm stood alongside a few of his new Browns teammates in front of a class of third-grade students in Cleveland on Tuesday and spoke about the importance of education.
He speaks from a point of authority because he's been in their shoes.
Naturally intelligent, Lamm didn't struggle in school. But he also wasn't always the best behaved. It took his grandmother sitting him down and telling him about the importance of his own adolescent years for him to get on the right track.
Lamm, along with fellow Browns Greg Joseph, Jaelen Strong and Orson Charles visited Paul L. Dunbar Elementary School in Cleveland to deliver the same message: Attending and succeeding in school is the key to future success. The players made the trip as part of Browns Give Back's commitment to education and the team's partnership with Cleveland Metropolitan School District's "Get 2 School. You Can Make It!" attendance campaign.
Players visited students at the Cleveland elementary school and emphasized the importance of good attendance in school on the path to future success. Take a look at the photos from the visit made by Greg Joseph, Kendall Lamm, Orson Charles, Jaelen Strong and Chomps.
Dunbar's third-grade class was selected to spend the afternoon with the Browns because of its commitment to and marked improvement in attendance -- a key factor in students' educational success. They celebrated their efforts with games and an ice cream social.
The Browns players opened the visit by discussing the significance of attendance for long-term educational performance, then led the students in taking a pledge to remain dedicated to strong attendance. After that, it was time to split into groups to do "candygrams," where students and Browns players worked together to use candy to complete sentences about staying dedicated to attending and succeeding in school.
"The kids are the future," Lamm said. "If somebody didn't show me the way and give me the inspiration, the kick in the butt to make something of myself, I probably wouldn't be standing here right now. But you have to be very, very genuine. You've got to let them know because kids can see through it like that. They can really tell. But they can also tell when you care. So I try to convey that because I was once in their shoes."
Joseph has a unique view of this important issue, too. His mother was a teacher, which meant he had to be in school every day, no matter what. That helped him to the success he's enjoyed since reaching the NFL, and he relayed that message to the students at Dunbar Elementary.
Browns players Joel Bitonio, Chris Hubbard and Daniel Ekuale joined Browns staff to host the 2019 Play 60 Football Festival, in association with University Hospitals. The Browns invited local students to have a day full of activities at the team facility, including football drills, alumni appearances and much more.
"The kids are super excited to see us and we're excited to see them and I think it's important they know that," Joseph said. "It's an important cause. Kids need to be in school and they're our future at the end of the day. So the more we can help on the road to success, the better."
The Browns closed their visit by surprising select students with "Special Teams Packages" as part of a program in partnership with Browns Give Back and Shoes and Clothes for Kids that provides CMSD students in economic hardship with necessary clothing items as part of the "Get 2 School. You Can Make It!" campaign to help alleviate barriers to attendance. The students each opened their packages and smiled with joy as they dug through their three school uniforms, one casual outfit, a shoe gift card and school supplies. The effort is focused on eliminating clothing as a barrier to school attendance for students in need.
Through Browns Give Back, the Cleveland Browns are dedicated to #give10 through the team's First and Ten initiative. Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to volunteer in and help their communities throughout the world by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual's city across the globe, as well as the franchise's local community. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team's website and by sharing their stories with #give10. For more information or to sign the pledge, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.