Maria "Ribbons" Pape is a teen from Shaker Heights, who is dedicated to staying active and supporting her community. Ribbons plays football, hockey and loves to just be around sports and people. Ribbons has been attending the Cleveland Browns Youth Football Camp for as long as she can remember, playing hard, having fun and competing with the boys. During August, Play Football Month around the league, the Browns chose to recognize her for her genuine love for the game and those she helps.
"It is fun, it is educational, and it brings happiness to people all over the world," Pape said about her volunteer work.
Pape began volunteering with the Singing Angels, a Cleveland based youth choir because her cousins were in the chorus. She joined the Singing Angels in more than six years ago. Since beginning, her group has performed all over the world including China, the Vatican and the White House. She's also been fortunate to sing and experience Yellowstone for the National Parks centennial and a United Nations debut.
The Singing Angels perform up to 90 concerts a year, including nearly 30 concerts during the holidays at area nursing homes and medical facilities, including Rainbow Babies and Childrens' Hospital which is her favorite. While they can't see every patient, the choir is televised in individual rooms.
"I continue to volunteer [with the Angels] because they provide a good foundation for life, they teach excellent musical and cultural skills, and they do great work bringing happiness to our communities."
Another fun time of the year is when the group has the chance to honor all veterans with a medley of patriotic songs representing all branches of our military at most concerts. Ribbons is not new to professional sports either, as the Singing Angels are regularly invited to perform the National Anthem for other Cleveland teams.
From a young age, Ribbons has learned the importance of bringing joy to people, and how fortunate most are to have good health and family support. The kids in the hospital and the elderly in the nursing homes are so happy to see Ribbons and her friends during the visits.
"Their smiles make me feel like we are doing something good for the community," Pape said.
This summer after the Browns Youth Football Camp, she volunteered at a hockey camp helping younger players with their skills. She tries to be a role model, showing that putting forth the best effort will help them achieve their goals.
She also demonstrates technique and mentor younger girls in synchronized swimming.
One way she gives back in the educational arena is by giving presentations at elementary schools about Slovakia, where her family lived when she was very young; and also about Pocohontas while they were studying Native Americans.
Always looking for ways to help others, Ribbons, who plays on Elite girls' and boys' hockey squads help others during the holidays by adopting families for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Purchasing gifts and serving meals to those in need.
"I am so blessed and really love helping others," Pape said.
Ribbons and her family are avid Browns fans and at #BrownsCamp they chose to #give10 by adopting a dog at the Puppy Pound, the cocker spaniel mix they gave a fur-ever home is lovingly named Lucy Baker.