Shon Coleman, Tyrone Holmes, Cody Parkey and Danny Shelton play with Adapted Football League athletes at the Open House and Skills Session. #give10
STRONGSVILLE — Over the past two years, Danny Shelton has emerged as a leader on and off the field. So this past weekend, the defensive lineman and 2015 first-round NFL Draft pick helped take charge Saturday at the Cleveland Browns Adapted Football League's annual kickoff event.
"It means everything," Shelton said. "Not only to them, but me as well to see them smiling and having fun to see them in my area of expertise. Running through these drills, scoring touchdowns and just having fun with it."
Shelton, Shon Coleman, Cody Parkey, and Tyrone Holmes led drills alongside more than 200 athletes and volunteers from the Browns and Achievement Centers for Children at Strongsville's Camp Cheerful.
"The passion and excitement here is phenomenal," said Sally Farwell, President and CEO of Achievement Centers for Children. "This is just an incredible event for everybody."
Established in 2011, the Cleveland Browns Adapted Football League offers children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in an organized, competitive and developmental sport.
It's the first competitive adapted football program in Ohio that enables school-aged children and young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to play football competitively.
"This is really a way to bring the abilities of individuals with disabilities into the community," Farwell said, "and really show how many abilities they have and how we can be instrumental in expanding that."
Since its debut, the program has grown exponentially. The 2017 season marks the highest number of participants to date with more than 120 athletes and 100 volunteers.
"It's incredible," Farwell said. "It's more highly organized, the Browns have been instrumental in facilitating that change."
And players like Shelton have played a key role in making the event as special as possible.
"It's something different for me, it's something different for them as well," he said, "not being able to see a lot of Browns players and they look up to us a lot."
As part of Browns Give Back and the Cleveland Browns Foundation's dedication to education and youth development, Browns players and alumni will host a football skills session for more than 200 athletes and volunteers from the Cleveland Browns Adapted Football League, along with Achievement Centers for Children, at Camp Cheerful on Saturday. During the 2017 kickoff event, the team will interact with young athletes and their families, as well as sharpen their football abilities by participating in a variety of training camp drills and stations.
The Cleveland Browns Adapted Football League, established in 2011, provides children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in an organized, competitive and developmental sport. It is the first competitive adapted football program in Ohio that enables school-aged children and young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to play football competitively. The 2017 season marks the highest number of participants to date with more than 120 athletes and 100 volunteers. The program offers a foundation for success by focusing on skill development, socialization and physical activity. Those building blocks help prepare participants for achievement and growth now and in the future.
Through Browns Give Back, the Browns are continuing their commitment to #give10 through the team's signature First and Ten volunteering campaign during the offseason after engaging the community throughout the season each Tuesday on the players' day off.
About the Cleveland Browns and Browns Give Back:
The Cleveland Browns give back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team's signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
About the Cleveland Browns Foundation:
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. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
About Achievement Centers for Children:
Achievement Centers for Children enables and empowers children with disabilities and their families to grow, learn, play and prepare for lifelong achievement in society. Children at the Achievement Centers may have a wide range of disabilities including physical, neurological, sensory, cognitive or a combination of those conditions. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the Achievement Centers served more than 2,500 children and their families through a variety of services and programs. It serves families from all income levels, and its innovative programs and services focus on the key areas of family support, education and autism, therapies and recreation, camp and sports.
About First and Ten:
Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to #give10 and help their communities 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, visitwww.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.