Cody Parkey, Corey Lemonier and Chomps visited Cuyahoga County Public Library's Kindergarten Club to join in on the end of the year celebration!
CLEVELAND —** Browns linebacker Corey Lemonier and kicker Cody Parkey revisited their childhood Tuesday.
The pair spent the evening at Kindergarten Club at the Brooklyn Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library in an effort to celebrate another successful year of the program, which helps equip children who did not attend preschool with the necessary skills needed for their first year of school.
"These kids are doing something extraordinary, what they're doing here is giving them a chance to catch up before kindergarten starts," said Parkey, who joined Lemonier in reading a story to those gathered, passing out awards and helping with arts and crafts.
"It was a really cool experience, I got to read a story to them, which I haven't done in a long, long time — and it was a great book, by the way — and we just got to kind of congratulate them on a great year of just learning, and when you learn a lot of things stem off of that."
"You just see a lot of excited kids, they were super excited. But they're just eager to learn and play so it was kind of cool revisiting that time in everybody's lives so it was cool," Lemonier added.
"The Browns do a good job of being aware of the community and being a part of it and, I mean, why not give back, we have such loyal fans so why not give it back to them."
Partnered with and funded by the Cleveland Browns Foundation, Kindergarten Club — which is offered at various branches of Cuyahoga County Public Library and open to any family that doesn't have their child enrolled in a preschool program — give kids access to school readiness activities that help support and build developmental, social and emotional competencies necessary to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
The program also introduces parents and families to the ideas of play-dates, cognitive skill building activities that can be replicated in the home, provides access to early childhood educational information and fosters the role families can play in their child's education.
Cuyahoga County Public Library literacy and learning division direction Pam Jankowski said each session starts with a dinner before the "children go with the children's librarian for story time and while the children are in story time, our child psychologist works with the parents and she talks to the parents about different subjects and they're all subjects that prepare children for kindergarten"
Those subjects range from separation anxiety, reading and developing small motor skills. The Browns, she said, make the program possible.
"Without the Cleveland Browns Foundation support, we wouldn't be able to have Kindergarten Club. It's what pays for the program to happen," Jankowski said.
"It's very impactful program but it requires a level of especially above what librarians can provide, so hiring a child psychologist to lead the programming is something the Browns provide."
The Cleveland Browns Foundation is dedicated to a solution-based, holistic approach to ensure Northeast Ohio youth receive the education and development they need as a foundation for independence and success. By enhancing existing partnership and strategically adding new programs, the Foundation is working to improve the lives of children, their families and Cleveland by ensuring they have resources and eliminating barriers to help provide positive learning environments for all students.
And on this night, Parkey and Lemonier wanted to make sure they supported that mission.
"From the start I always said I want to make an influence on as many people as I can, and if these kids remember this a year down the road, I think it made a huge difference if they do or not," Parkey said. "I just wanted to be able to come here and use my influence in a positive way.
"(The players) were just very engaging with the children and talking to them reading to the children, all of that is what children need more than just their parents," Jankowski said.
"They need the community to be around them and support them and it's important for them to know that's there for them."