Community Highlights

First and Ten Top 10 - April 2019

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Each month, we will bring to you the top 10 highlights that we receive each month about how fans, youth football coaches and teachers just like you are out in the community volunteering!

Name: Aubrey Blews
Hometown: Girard, OH
How do you give back:
Aubrey volunteers as the fundraising coordinator for the high school he graduated from. The work he does helps fund all of the athletic programs for students. He has committed to more and more events over the past five years to ensure that kids are getting active and staying healthy. It’s important to him that all high school students have the opportunity to participate in athletics regardless of social status or ability to afford equipment and training. He also knows how being involved in athletic programs can help students with self-esteem, while also keeping them focused and engaged in positive after-school programming. This organization has given Aubrey the opportunity and creative freedom to help raise funds for a cause that he’s passionate about. He can see the difference that the fundraisers make in the athletic programs allowing student athletes much more in terms of proper training and safety measures, as well as better equipment. He gets the most out of his position when he sees students from lower income households excel in their sport. Aubrey is also a volunteer with Junior Achievement, where he teaches financial and economic classes to students in varying grade levels.

Name: Ariel Jordan
Hometown: Oswego, IL
How do you give back:
Ariel has many passions, but a few of them include giving back via various academic, professional and personal endeavors. She began volunteering with the American Cancer Society over a decade ago. Way back when she forced her mother, brother, sister, and good friend to do the same. She also volunteered at the local YMCA as a gymnastics coach so she made her friends at the YMCA volunteer during the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. Since then, she sought other opportunities to get involved with the organization and from the fall to the spring she found herself volunteering at a Relay for Life event. After that, she joined the planning committee and worked with ACS year round up until she left for college. Once she arrived, she immediately joined the planning committee and worked with ACS for four years until she moved to Cleveland for graduate school. In Cleveland, she found a number of ways to volunteer with ACS. She works the reception desk at the local chapter quite often.

She has always been a volunteer at heart and that's what brought her to ACS; however, her commitment to the cause and the beautiful individuals she has met along the way is what has carried this relationship and withstood the test of time! Her time with ACS has connected her to some of the most beautiful folk she’ll ever have the pleasure to meet in this world. Yes, the cause is also incredibly important. But the drive, passion, mere existence of some of the individuals she’s met fuels her passion! The organization has created a place that Ariel can always go to volunteer and find a home. She has lived in three states and has an ACS family in each of them. She loves the variety she is offered as a volunteer at ACS. She can fundraise, plan events, conduct advocacy work, learn soft skills and everything in between – there's no limit to the way you can make a difference.

Name: Barbara Horn
Hometown: Canton, OH
How do you give back:
Barbara works at Huntington, an employer committed to having staff who volunteer throughout the year. She’s been supporting Pelotonia for two years now and she does it because 100% of all funds raised go to cancer research. It is a wonderful group that promotes team work, community support and interaction, supporting family, co-workers and strangers in a very long journey battling cancer, and they have one goal to focus on, finding a cure for cancer! She is currently pushing herself to coordinate a Night at the Races event. She will be riding in a 25 mile race. She loves being a part of something bigger than herself and it’s a reminder that everyone can work as one to focus on an important goal. She also volunteers for Crossroads Hospice (volunteers to read or be a companion to people at end of life care and scrapbook preparation for families after the Gift of the Day events), Dueber United Methodist Church (Bible study teacher and help with homeless soup/clothing prep), Great Trail Girl Scout Council (co-girl scout leader) and the Army Navy Union, Ladies Auxiliary (veterans group). She is very busy, but she wouldn’t want it any other way.

Name: Britni Jenkins
Hometown: Willoughby, OH
How do you give back:
She gives back by hosting an Annual Autism Awareness Dance at Eastlake Middle School. She has personally been part of this dance since 2013, but did not start hosting it until 2017. Autism is a disability that is close to her heart. Many of the students that she has worked with have autism and it is so important to spread awareness and try to help research to find a cause and possibly a solution to autism. So many people's lives are impacted by autism and they deserve answers. Her love for people with autism started in college when she decided to be an Intervention Specialist and joined the sorority of Alpha Xi Delta, whose philanthropy was Autism Speaks. She couldn't do this without the support of her school community and the amazing students at EMS.

Together, after nine years, they have raised more than $120,000! With the community that EMS is in, they don't have a lot. Some students go home to not so great conditions. These same students spend all year preparing for their 12-hour dance and work very hard to raise the $75 they need to participate in the dance. This is the opportunity for every student at Eastlake Middle School to get involved and make a difference in someone’s life. To be part of this is an honor. It takes a lot of work and preparation, so many do not want the challenge of preparing for the dance, but Britni thrives on it, because when it comes and she sees the 150 plus students dancing for 12 hours and she feels such a sense of humility. It’s beautiful. Every year she hears about families and individuals who have been affected by autism, and it reminds her why she does it. Being involved is such a rewarding experience and she craves it now. She is also on the Student Council, Pep Club, and Honor Society advisor at her school. They do local clean ups, work with younger children, and collect/organize for a food pantry. Britni donates blood every opportunity she has and spends her summers giving back by teaching summer school, and working at a local pool.

Name: Gaylissa Carr
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
How do you give back:
She has been helping high risk individuals, such as homeless, unemployed or presently/formerly incarcerated for the past 12 years in the form of mentoring, referrals for housing, medical services, mental health evaluations and in the past four years they have been able to employ individuals as well. They have also been visible in various neighborhoods encouraging children to sign up for college preparatory classes.

Last year she formed a nonprofit organization, Adjusting Lives Healing Hearts, Inc. (ALHH) focused on obtaining housing (foreclosed and vacant properties) to place these individuals in, so that there is a firm foundation, in order to become productive members of their respective neighborhoods and society begins to understand that people can and do change. Her passion stems from personal experiences. Now she returns to prisons, jails and recovery groups speaking about hope.

Name: Jen Roher
Hometown: New York, New York
How do you give back:
Jen gives back in any way she can. It is her pleasure to donate financially to projects she feels will be impactful to the community, volunteering at her kids’ schools and her professional organization. She loves the preschool that her toddler attends because the school cares for and teaches the children who attend. As part of her gratitude for all they do, she looks to help support it. Everyone is so generous so it’s easy for her to give of her time and resources when around them. Her other child also has parent involvement opportunities that she takes advantage of as well. Finally, she is a board member and committee member and event organizer/chair for a professional organization’s charitable group.

Name: Jennifer Pullom
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
How do you give back:
Jennifer is a volunteer at the Merrick House a vibrant Cleveland neighborhood center where everyone from the curious child to the committed adult is enriched through active, lifelong learning. Serving the Tremont neighborhood and surrounding areas, their inclusive programs and services have expanded over the years to educate and empower individuals and families alike. They are committed to Lifting Lives and Strengthening Communities. Right now, they are building garden boxes for members of the community to grow their own fresh vegetables. They will also share vegetables from the garden to St. Augustine Hunger Center to help feed the homeless. One thing that they are excited about now that the weather is warming up is the ability to participate in community clean up days.

Name: Sarah Hargis
Hometown: Parma, OH
How do you give back:
She’s the type of person who always looks out for the young and old people in Parma. She is also known as "Parma Mom" to many kids in her area and at her work place. The Parma kids know they can come to her with any issues in life, and she will guide them through in the proper manner. She currently works at Mission BBQ, which is an honor, due to family being in military, knowing a lot of law enforcement officers and EMTs. She does what she is able to for others, because that is her. Her son, Ian, has hosted fundraisers and annual walks to help raise money for finding a cure and making awareness for Chiari Malformation, and are ask all to be involved. Ian was diagnosed with this when he was 3 years old. Sarah never heard of it, but learned it was rare so she researched to learn as much about it as she could. It’s only the second year they have held the fundraisers and walks in Parma. While it is not a common disease, through these events, she has met six others in the area with it. It is so personal to her because her son had it. Many people have had to get surgery for it, and still suffer. Her son never had to and his Chiari diminished on its own, which his neurosurgeon said is very rare. It has made her look at life in a whole different perspective. She was given this test to make a difference and make it into a positive thing. In addition to all she currently does, she wants to start volunteering at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, as a victims advocate when her son reaches high school. Using her personal experience when she was younger, and making a difference in another victim's or survivor's life.

Name: Raechel Baucco
Hometown: Fairport Harbor, OH
How do you give back:
Raechel is a teacher at McKinley Elementary School and she’s a young, dedicated teacher who is always looking to get her students involved. She knows that if they’re introduced to new things they will most likely enjoy school more. Learning is not just about what occurs in the classroom. Over the course of the last school year they held a food drive, donated pennies as part of the penny war to support a local nonprofit that they voted on, fundraised with yearbooks for camp and more. One of her favorite volunteer initiatives was Socktober, where students brought in new socks to be given to homeless people. They also collected school supplies for Rainbows Babies and Children. Finally, something they’re doing to end off the year is teaching the school about football workouts and nutrition, which is in ode to the Browns.

Name: Christy Burmeister
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
How do you give back:
Forever Friends 4-H is the organization she is currently working with as a volunteer. There are 27 members of the group that do many different things in the community to help others. 4-H is a program providing opportunities for youth to complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles. 4‑H’s reach and depth are unmatched, reaching kids in every corner of America – from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities volunteers provide caring and supportive mentoring to all 6 million 4‑H’ers, helping them grow into true leaders today and in life. This group under Christy’s guidance has worked at the soup kitchen, Project Hope and just recently made Easter cards for seniors in their area.

Interested in signing up your volunteer group for First and Ten? Group forms available! *Click here to learn more about how to #give10*

Follow @BrownsGiveBack on Twitter and Instagram and tell us what you are doing to help others using #give10 to unite us all as Browns fans. Give 10 hours, help your community.

The 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. Since its inception, Browns fans have committed to volunteering more than 2 million hours to impact their communities by pledging to #give10. 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

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