At Cleveland Browns home games, one lucky Browns fan who shares their story of how they #give10 as a part of First and Ten is honored at midfield as the coin toss captain of the game. When the Browns played the Redskins in the first preseason game of the season, Dennis Harris was that honoree because he not only volunteers and chooses to #give10 but he inspires others while doing so.
Dennis Harris is a philanthropist from the area who has committed his life to #give10. In the true spirit of philanthropy he doesn't do it for any recognition, but simply because it's the right thing to do. When Dennis grew up in the '60s, he was always taught to be thankful for what he had, give back and help others. His mother used to tell him to 'Go shovel the driveway, and when you're finished shovel the neighbors!' It was that kind of training and upbringing that became like second nature to him. He visited nursing homes, cleaned for others and more. Through this sort of volunteerism, Harris learned the true meaning of giving back and how he could make an impact in the lives of others.
As an adult, Dennis carried on the civic-mindedness that his mother and war veteran father instilled in him as a child. He got involved with youth development and education initiatives that would help further the academic prospectus in and around his area. Championing education, Harris mentors students from the East Cleveland area, works with students, teachers and administrators in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and volunteers in diversity clubs at the local schools. It is his belief that education is the great equalizer and that it opens doors for one to escape poverty, find success, and see the world.
Dennis not only focuses on his own community but is concerned about those in other countries as well. Through a program that he runs, he and students from Case Western Reserve University travel to other countries to provide school supplies to children in lesser developed areas in those nations. The group has been to Australia eight times and just recently returned from the Dominican Republic, where kids in grades pre-k to high school stood in line for hours in 100 degree weather to receive free school supplies. It was an amazing sight and a great opportunity, Dennis says, for the students to realize how fortunate they really are and turn that gratitude into action.
Dennis' mantra is "when you stop learning, you stop living." Learn by doing, giving and helping your fellow man, he tells the kids. "It's our responsibility." Dennis is grateful for platforms that the NFL and the Cleveland Browns have put into place like the First and Ten initiative to invite others to #give10, and help their communities.
Are you signed up to #give10? Do you have your orange #give10 wristband? Share how you are helping the community and pledge to be part of First and Ten on ClevelandBrowns.com/community. All you have to do is give 10 hours, help your community. We want to hear your stories so follow @BrownsGiveBack on Twitter and Instagram for the latest community updates and be sure to use #give10.